Dec 13, 2008
America and Italy are different in so many ways and it is for this very reason that Italy appeals to me and frustrates me at the same time. It depends on my frame of mind at the moment.
Christmas is one of those times when I love/hate it here.
I already complained about not hearing enough Christmas carols, even at the Boca Christmas market.
Now I wonder why people have Christmas trees on their balcony instead of inside their house. I personally like to sit, with a glass of wine or even better with a spiked Christmas drink, and stare at the lights and the sparkling ornaments. It's magical and dreamy. My friends and I have traditionally spent a day getting the tree itself. We'd drive to a forest, get a permit for a tree and hike around looking for the right size, shape, type and then cut it down ourselves. After all that work, you can bet your bottom dollar I want to look at that tree!
This year I was given a pair of knitted socks with padding underneath in celebration of St. Lucia's day. I had no idea. In Italy on the 13th of December, St. Lucia's day is celebrated with the youngest daughter in the household donning a crown of candles and waking everyone with hot buns. My mind just cannot stop thinking of a little four year old teeter-tottering up uneven stairs in an old italian home with a head of blazing candles. Perhaps, not so much now in this day and age of battery operated candles, but I am sure in a traditional country like Italy, there must be mothers freaking out every December 13.
I am more familiar with the celebration of January 6, even in the States. This day is the 12th day of Christmas also known as the day of the three wise men and also Epiphany. In the States, I've been to a home where family and friends were invited over for the blessing of the house. In Italy, I was at home when the evening was briefly interrupted when the local priest made his rounds to each home to make the blessing. He arrived with his young helper and a doll representing baby Jesus. We placed the doll in each room while the priest blessed.
It is also on this day that Italians exchange stuffed stockings, while we finish it all in one swoop in December. They know how to extend a good thing, don't they...
For more tidbits click on Italian Christmas traditions
Whatever the reason for the celebration, St Lucia, Christmas Day, Epiphany, I think it's just a good reason to be together with people you love. It is precious time well spent.