While "réveillon" is generally limited to members of the immediate family, Christmas dinner, in contrast, gathers friends and relations together around the table. In some families, married sons and daughters are routinely invited on Christmas day to the paternal household of one or other of the spouses. The following day, the married children host the members of their respective families in turn along with uncles, aunts and cousins who visit throughout the holiday period.
Until recently, Christmas was a time for great family festivity and was for visiting friends and relations. Guests
sometimes stayed several days with one or other of their hosts.
Today, all kinds of social constraints have brought about changes in the timing, the location and the number of participants in these festivities, but Christmas celebrations are still among the most important in the collective consciousness.