Not long after I turned on my computer early this morning, I got a pop-up notification that I had just received an e-mail. It was from Matteo, an Italian friend of mine. On his letter, he told me about his Christmas celebration in Italy—well, in Genoa, to be exact (because there’s where he lives). So, I would love to share his e-mail to you all; just to throw some more Christmas feelings in the air, cause it feels like holiday, already!!! :p
How are you? I’m fine! In this period in Italy we are preparing to celebrate Christmas time, you know, so we decorated our house mostly using red, gold, and green as usual, but also some new Byzantine colors, that are very charming indeed. By the way our Xmas tree isn’t too big, but full of lights, balls, angels, many other decorations and even a Santa Claus near the top, where we put a big comet star, then all around the tree we organized a Nativity scene, with many figures, little houses, palms, Roman soldiers, animals, the Three Kings and so on, recreating a little part of old Palestine as we are used to know from books and illustrations.
In these last days me and my family have been driven crazy because of the many presents we had to buy for each relative of ours. We also decided to help the others by giving some money for the scientific research, during the Telethon Show, and buying candles, cakes, covers, and little things like that for old people living alone in a hospice near our town. Plus we gave some money to certain homeless, who we have met down in Genoa, and bought some food for dogs and cats, which are living in captivity into a kennel in our town. Well, nothing serious, just little things like that, that help you to feel closer the Spirit of Christmas, and which reminds you that we aren’t alone in this world, above all when it is supposed that everybody should be happier than usual…
In Italy people give a great consideration to family lunches and dinners of these holy fests, so after having cleaned and decorated our houses, and after having greeted everybody, we spend lots of time cooking food or baking cakes and other good dishes. For example my mom bakes butter, cocoa, and chocolate cookies, then she prepares a kind of “Panettone” called “Panettone Genovese”, which contains flour, eggs and butter, of course, then raisin, pine nuts, candied fruit, lemon peel, and few aniseed seeds, then she cooks cocks and roast-beef, then “Tortellini” and “Ravioli” or “Lasagne”, boils chicken, prepares fish, vole-au-vents, appetizers of every kind, then Russian Salad, and many sweet creams to fill into cakes or to cover the “Pannetone”, then she cut exotic fruit and prepare a big fruit salad, and long drinks, too, plus many dried fruit, pecan nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, and so on. Then we bought champagne, too, in order to give a big toast to the season and to our relatives and friends as well.
On the Christmas’ Eve we will go to the Midnight Mass altogether, and for the first time there will be my girlfriend next to me. Well, to tell the truth, this is the second time, given that the very first happened when I was just 17 and I went out will a girl called Sa**ina, who was 16 at that period, but we were too young, and to be honest, I have already forgotten that time, filing it into a mental file called “Old Memories”, if you can understand what I mean… Anyway before the Mass we will have a reunion with other people, for example our neighbours and friends, then we will walk altogether to the Church, handing a little torch, so there should be a long parade of lights, that light up the night, recreating a suggestive image, very sweet and touching.
After the Mass we will meet again, joining our club—you must be a member to enter it—where we can celebrate that Holy Night by drinking hot chocolate and hot spicy wine, eating very little sandwiches and pizza slices, or some “Pannetone” and “Pandoro” and “Torrone” too, which are all typical Christmas cakes and sweets. Then we will open our presents, having a toast with Champagne or “Spumante”, and finally go to bed. On the 25th of December, we celebrate the Xmas Day with a big family lunch, that’s so long and important, that starts at Midday and stops in the afternoon, more or less at 6:00 pm, so people won’t dinner at all on that day!
We commemorate the Boxing Day as well, still having another family lunch, then we are on vacation till the 9th of January, celebrating above all the New Year’s Eve, the New Year Day and the Epiphany Day too, always mostly with dinners and lunches, but also going to the movie, reading books, cocooning in our own homes, going to the Carousel, meeting friends, relaxing, playing cards or bingo, watching TV shows and things like that, you know … Then I can’t wait for the big New Year’s Eve Party, that will be fest by my g/friend, my friend and I in a cool club round here, and for the fireworks as well.
OK, it’s time to go, I have still many things to do, and so few time for doing everything in the right time, so I’d like to stop here, if you don’t mind. Have a wonderful season, and don’t forget that I love you, my friend!