More French people are putting unwanted Christmas gifts up for sale online, often barely before the wrapping paper has hit the floor, according to e-commerce sites.

"/> More French people are putting unwanted Christmas gifts up for sale online, often barely before the wrapping paper has hit the floor, according to e-commerce sites.

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CHRISTMAS

Rush to offload unwanted Christmas gifts

More French people are putting unwanted Christmas gifts up for sale online, often barely before the wrapping paper has hit the floor, according to e-commerce sites.

Daily newspaper 20 Minutes reported that PriceMinister, one of the best-known sites for buying and selling goods in France, saw a 50 percent leap in the amount of products on its website over the Christmas weekend versus the same period last year.

“It started yesterday evening [Christmas Eve] really strongly,” said the site’s cofounder Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet on Sunday.

The first wave of unwanted presents went online between 9pm and midnight, with a second wave starting at 8am on Christmas Day.

The site expects to have a total of 3 million gifts up for sale over the course of the week against around 2 million in 2010.  

Ebay also reported an increase in sales on Christmas Eve and expected an overall increase of 10 percent this week.

The most popular gifts included books such as the Steve Jobs biography or the latest novel by popular French author Marc Levy, “L’ étrange voyage de Monsieur Daldry” (The strange journey of Mr Daldry).

A spokesman for ebay explained that while people were happy to receive the latest books, they didn’t want “several copies.”

Other popular gifts to go online are DVDs. This year they include the final film in the Harry Potter series and popular French comedy “Rien à dèclarer” (“Nothing to declare”) by Dany Boon.  

A recent opinion poll found that 30 percent of people admitted to having sold an unwanted Christmas gift, up from 20 percent a year earlier. Around three-quarters said that reselling gifts was more acceptable than in the past.

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WEATHER

Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France. Non-mountainous parts of the country will not see snow this year. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

If you’re in France and have been dreaming of a white Christmas, you are probably out of luck. 

It has been freezing in recent days with temperatures falling to a low of -33.4C in Jura on Wednesday morning, but the cold spell isn’t going to last. 

Temperatures across the country will hover around the 10C level in most of France by the afternoon on December 25th according to Météo France, with parts of the country including Brittany and some parts of eastern France experiencing rainfall. 

By the afternoon on Christmas Day, the chances of snow look extremely limited. Source: www.meteofrance.com

On Saturday, there will be some snowfall, but only if you are high in the mountains at an altitude of 1,800-2,000m. On Sunday, places above 1,500m could also see snow – but this rules out the vast majority of the country. 

Roughly half the country will see sunshine over the weekend. The French weather channel said that this Christmas could be among the top five or six warmest since 1947. 

Last year, Météo France cautioned: “While we often associate snow with Christmas in the popular imagination, the probability of having snow in the plains [ie not in the mountains] during this period is weak in reality.”

One of the last great Christmas snowfalls, outside of France’s mountainous areas, came in 2010 when 3-10 cm of snow fell in Lille, Rouen and Paris. In Strasbourg, 26cm fell. 

On Christmas Day in 1996, 12 cm of snow fell in Angers – ironically, this was also the day that the film, Y’aura t’il de la neige à Noël? (Will there never be snow at Christmas?) was released. It had been ten years since France had seen such snowfall outside of the Alps and Pyrenees. 

Météo France directly attributes declining rates of Christmas snowfall to climate change. Compared to 50 years ago, even the Alps receives the equivalent one less month of snowfall per year. 

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