An Italian Christmas – Holiday Traditions

Don H. (NDD#59) (22 Posts)

Wasn't a typical Disney fan growing up, really not familiar with the movies, characters and/or theme parks. Was a DC Comic fan. Was with the birth of my daughter that I was introduced to Disney. For some, it 'all started with a Mouse.' For me, it all 'started with a Mermaid.' I learned of the Disney films and characters through her eyes and now am a die-hard Disney fan. Been a Disney Vacation Club member since 2003 and get down to Walt Disney World twice a year and Disneyland/Disney California Adventure at least every other year. Am a HUGE Cars fan, reason Disney California Adventure is my favorite park. Radiator Springs is like stepping into the film for me. I ran a website on the Walt Disney Classics Collection from 1997-2012 when the line was suspended. In 2007 I started my blog. When not visiting the parks and collecting Cars diecast, am a Controller for an accounting firm in Pittsburgh, PA (home of the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers).


 

Traditions – they are what make your holidays and events special. Adding Disney to those traditions can make your holidays even more magical. Even if you have a tradition that has been passed down for generations, it’s never too late to add a few new fun ones! This month, we will highlight some of our personal family traditions that show off our Disney side. Want to share yours as well? Read December – Holiday Traditions or email NDM130 for more information today!


Growing up in an Italian family, the Christmas Season isn’t so much about gifts but more about the preparation of food, cookies and time with family.

Decorating doesn’t begin until the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Shopping lists contain how many pounds of nuts are needed, extracts to buy, is there ample supply of sugar, butter and flour? It’s all about the cooking and baking of traditional Italian dishes and cookies.  Pizzelles in anise, lemon, orange, vanilla and almond flavoring (not imitation but pure extract). Other traditional cookie are guanti (gloves), wine cookies and one of my favorites, pineapple filled.

Christmas Eve is just as important as Christmas Day. Our family carries on the tradition of no meat on Christmas Eve. The meal consists of baccala, a dried cod fish, one of seven fishes represented in the meal to represent the Seven Hills of Rome that surround the city. Fried smelts, calamari and other types of seafood have been incorporated into the Christmas Eve dinner over the years. This celebration commemorates the vigil, the birth of Jesus. After the meal is complete, it’s time for sweets which consist of cookies, a traditional bowl of nuts, fresh fruit, torrone (an Italian nougat candy) and espresso coffee.

The evening ends with everyone attending Midnight Mass.  If you’re really lucky, as you leave church, the night is calm, the air is cool and you see the falling of Christmas snow. There is something about that particular snow … magical.

Another tradition in our house, our Nativity is placed under the main tree. Just as they awaited the birth of Christ those many years ago, we wait until after mass on Christmas Eve to place the baby Jesus in the stable. In that special moment, we celebrate the Birth of Christ.

After a few hours sleep, we awake and gather around the tree to open and exchange gifts. We then shift to the kitchen, the fresh smell of coffee is brewing and we have a ‘light’ breakfast of cookies as more cooking begins, preparing the Christmas meal to gather with family later that day. As the morning progresses you smell the sauce simmering on the stove, the turkey in the oven and you prepare yourself for another day of eating and time spent with family.

December traditions - Don HGrowing up in a large family, I wouldn’t trade for anything. It is nice seeing my daughter, nieces and nephews carrying on traditions we learned from my Grandparents. As each year passes, so many have passed on but thankfully we have memories of those times with them and each year we find we reminisce more, talk of Christmas pasts and never forget those loved ones as we look forward to the coming year.

Of course, we had to include Mickey & Minnie in our Italian traditions 🙂

Merry Christmas and Buon Natale!

Don H. (NDD#59)

Wasn't a typical Disney fan growing up, really not familiar with the movies, characters and/or theme parks. Was a DC Comic fan. Was with the birth of my daughter that I was introduced to Disney. For some, it 'all started with a Mouse.' For me, it all 'started with a Mermaid.' I learned of the Disney films and characters through her eyes and now am a die-hard Disney fan. Been a Disney Vacation Club member since 2003 and get down to Walt Disney World twice a year and Disneyland/Disney California Adventure at least every other year. Am a HUGE Cars fan, reason Disney California Adventure is my favorite park. Radiator Springs is like stepping into the film for me. I ran a website on the Walt Disney Classics Collection from 1997-2012 when the line was suspended. In 2007 I started my blog. When not visiting the parks and collecting Cars diecast, am a Controller for an accounting firm in Pittsburgh, PA (home of the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers).