Being an Italian has resulted in many interesting, funny, and odd holiday traditions. There were many things that I learned from family that helped me to develop personally and professionally as I grew up. The activities, food, and reunions during the summer were always fun. Despite not being able to celebrate with big party this year due to COVID-19, I still have great memories. Looking forward to next year. The most memorable things was Christmas parties and the festivities that went along with them. If you are unfamiliar, here they are in alphabetical order to prepare Italians for the holiday and inform non-Italians about the culture.
These are always served during many occasions, but Christmas parties are more extreme. You will find a charcuterie board, hummus, bread, and other snacks that are enjoyed before dinner is served.
Every meal is served with bread. Whether it's Italian bread or something else, you will find it at the table. They always taste better with butter or dipped in olive oil for a little flavor.
As part of the appetizers, one of my favorite sides to eat before dinner is calamari or fried squid. They are great when dipped in marinara sauce or another dressing. One time, I had some that contained paprika, which was spicy and burned a little. However, it did clear my sinuses, which is one of the benefits of eating spicy foods.
This is the best part of the meal. After having a nice meal, I make room for dessert. On Christmas Eve, I would enjoy cookies, chocolate eclairs, cannolis or different types of pastries with a cup of eggnog.
Just like many families, Italians at Christmas parties are very loud and excited about the holiday. We play music, open gifts after dinner, and watch movies. It can get dramatic, but everyone has a good time.
The Seven Fishes is a tradition that my family participates in every Christmas Eve. Although it was something that I was not thrilled about in the past, I eventually became accustomed to the food. This year, I'm going to miss out on having the fish, so will instead have stuffed shells as a substitute.
At the end of the meal, this is where the chaos happens. In the past it used to get really crazy when it came to exchanging gifts. As I got older the gifts were limited, but I still enjoyed the presents I received from family. My favorites were cool outfits, tools, and gift cards.
Italians love to talk with their hands. During conversations this is how many family would communicate with each other, which is both unusual and funny.
When the holidays approach, communication is important. This is especially true on Christmas Eve. Having a plan organized for when dinner will be served, making time to watch films, and eating dessert ensures that everything is organized and runs smoothly.
My family is funny and being able to laugh about things keeps us sane. I got my sense of humor from my father. During Christmas Eve, we something tell stories and reminisce about past memories.
We always show kindness to each other, especially during the holidays. This is the time when my family talks about the good memories and we express our generosity by exchanging presents and cards. No family is perfect, but we always keep in touch and help each other out. Focusing on the positives makes us stronger.
Telling funny stories around the holidays is another great tradition. It's a nice way to discuss memories and the things that brings family together. In 2020, I will contact my extended family and send them Christmas cards. I'm looking forward to seeing them next year.
Only twice did I attend Midnight Mass with my family, but it was a wonderful experience. Among the chaos that occurs with preparing for the holidays I always remember what Christmas is all about. This is the time where I show appreciation for everything that I have while continuing to make good choices in life.
N- New Memories
When I receive new gifts and share new memories with my family this makes me feel great. Due to the pandemic, we are doing a new tradition by having a small celebration and doing separate parties this year, but maintaining the Christmas spirit by communicating with each other.
Despite the issues that have resulted from the pandemic, my family continues to be sincere and honest with each other. This helps with getting through difficult times. With my family, we talk about our feelings, and spend a few moments discussing plans for the New Year. Although the days ahead will be challenging, we can get through it.
Although, I do not attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, I do spend time praying for my life and family at night and during the holidays. Prayer is powerful and regularly giving thanks for the positives in life is uplifting. When I start to lose faith in society or myself, I would just say a prayer and look for better days ahead. This is the year where prayer is needed the most. I love my family and hope for peace and safety for everyone.
During Christmas, my family would follow the typical traditions like putting up Christmas lights, sending cards, exchanging gifts, and listening to music. Those traditions will remain the same aside from the separate parties. I will miss having the big celebration, but it's essential that we all remain safe. For the sake of everyone, we will enjoy Christmas and celebrate together next year.
Italian traditions involve talking about the past. These memories will include either a story, Facebook post, location we visited or food that we ate. Mentioning these small moments allows room to create new memories.
The holidays can be stressful, and 2020 has pushed everyone to their limit. We need the strength to get through the Christmas holiday, but luckily my family has unbreakable spirits. While it can get exhausting physically and mentally, the joy of Christmas keeps us motivated. When the day arrives I feel blessed for being able to celebrate with my family.
The Christmas tree is a beautiful symbol of Christmas and the main one. Every year I would take a picture of the decorated tree as a reminder of the work it took decorating it and what the tree represents. There's nothing like the sight of a bright Christmas tree with my family sitting around it.
Like other holidays and families, Christmas likely can get disruptive and loud. My family does speak loudly when talking, but the day is still great. Although the house gets messy, there's no problem that cannot be resolved.
The holidays can bring out the best and worse in people, but the excitement of Christmas, makes my family more happy than sad. Our positive attitudes are brought out during this time.
W - Wine
During Christmas Eve, my family loves to have a glass of wine with their dinner. Although I do not drink wine, I would usually purchase a bottle to give my uncle for Christmas. After having a glass or two of wine people are usually more open to conversation. My family often tells funny stories at the conclusion of dinner with a glass of vino.
X - Xenagogue
My family gives important advice, and I would listen to my grandparents talk about things to know in life. Whether I speak to them in person for Christmas or online, I'm glad they are there to support me during good and bad times. X- Xenagogue
Y - Youthful
We are all young at heart, and the spirit of Christmas reminds us that this holiday can be celebrated by everyone no matter what age you are.
It's not a real Christmas party without a little drama. Watching funny Christmas movies with my family, running around getting the lights set up and finding the right gifts for people are part of the experience. Now with COVID-19, we must communicate online, but my family is used to social media, so I still stay connected to my relatives. Even though we are apart, the Christmas season manages to bring us closer together.