A debate cropped on our WhatsApp group of My French World about whether we say le Noël ou la Noël.
1. ‘le noël‘ with small letter that is the short form of ‘chanson de Noël’ (Christmas Carol) or ‘cadeau de Noël) in familiar term. Ẹ.g. Chante-moi un noël (sing a carol for me); Coucou, voici un petit noël pour toi (here is a Christmas present for you).
2. Noël, with capital letter, is either masculine or feminine. While you can say la Noël to refer to ‘la fête’ (festival) or ‘la période’ (Christmas time), I advise you to never use it alone so as to avoid controversy. Kindly and always use it in phrases :
– papa Noël (father Christmas)
– joyeux Noël = merry Christmas
– à Noël = (see you) at Christmas time;
– le jour de Noël = Christmas Day
– le lendemain de Noël = the day after Christmas called Boxing Day (British English)
– passer Noël au village, en famille, etc.
Don’t use Noël alone!
Don’t spend Christmas alone!
May turkey and fowls rest in peace!
Dr A. Souleymane