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French Expression of the Day: Colis des aînés

French Expression of the Day: Colis des aînés
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
This expression describes a charming festive tradition practised in France every December.

Why do I need to know colis des aînés?

Because French solidarity is alive and well. 

What does it mean?

Colis des aînés, pronounced “cohl-ee dez-ai-nay”, are Christmas packages gifted to older people by local authorities in France. 

The term literally translates as “parcels of the elders”. 

Typically, they are distributed in hampers and contain culinary delights like sausage, foie gras, chocolate and booze.

READ MORE Why French mayors give out food hampers at Christmas

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In some small villages, colis des aînés are delivered personally to the elderly by local mayors. 

This gifting is not enshrined in law but many areas across France are proud of the tradition, which goes back as far as the 1940s. The whole operation is generally paid for by local  neighbourhood committees or residents’ associations. 

Eligibility to receive a colis des aînés varies by area, with different age and earnings requirements in place. 

Use it like this

Les colis des aînés du village ont été distribués – The village’s Christmas hampers for the elderly have been distributed

Cent colis des aînés seront distribués – 100 Christmas hampers for the elderly will be given out

As-tu reçu ton colis aux ainés? – Have you received your Christmas hamper? 

Synonyms 

Colis des vieux

Colis de Noël

Colis cadeaux


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