Buone Feste 2019 from Marilyn at Take Me Home Italy

December 24, 2019

It’s the holiday season where people come together in kindness and love to share time with those people who are special to them.  I believe the Christmas tree above demonstrates the interconnectivity of all people during this season of the year. Some people work toward the goal of kindness and love year-round. That is my goal and I hope it is yours as well.

Growing up in a huge Italian-American, Minnesota family meant large family celebrations on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It also meant S-N-O-W and chilly below zero weather. But we didn’t mind it when we were kids. We knew Santa would arrive on our snowy roof with tons of gifts for all the good boys and girls.

Speaking of Santa, we always went downtown to meet Santa Claus. We would be so excited to meet him. Yet, nearly every year it turned out like the photo of my brother Jim and me, shown below.

We were terrified. 

Christmas Eve meant dinner with the Ricci side of the family--first pasta followed by baccala for dinner. We kids hated the fish. After dinner, Santa would arrive with presents for us all.

Santa would personally deliver over 50 gifts to all the children and parents. Wrapping paper would fly through the air.  It was loud, fun, and just a bit crazy. 

When I was a senior in Secondary School, Santa and Mrs. Santa arrived at our door.

My boyfriend and I enjoyed delivering presents to my sister, Patrice. Do you think she recognized me?

Christmas Day we woke up to presents. One year my brother Jim received a train for Christmas. 

That train set was the most used gift any of us six children ever received. Note the matching cowboy hats.

We were working class people. We never asked for any gifts. We received what was on sale. One year there must have been a special sale of children’s instruments. We all received one. Below is my Uncle Bill Jeffrey, a lifetime musician who played with Benny Goodman and others when they came to Minnesota.  He tuned every single instrument for us. Here he is playing Deck the halls with “Uncle Charley” with my sister, Patrice. He could be so very funny.

Christmas in Italy is quite different. I love the way each city decorates for the holiday. My town of Chiavari is no exception.

In the evenings, my neighbors and I wander through centro storico greeting each other as friends, strolling beneath outdoor chandeliers. It is magical.

I love the way the windows of the palace are covered with white lights. 

Churches also wear their white light finery. It is like a fairy land. It is a completely different experience than that of my USA experience. Somehow it feels right for me. And I am so thankful that I live in Italy. Everywhere you visit Italy in December, you will see similar lighting and decorations. And for most of the country, the lights substitute for the snow. Even the seaside in Chiavari has that Christmas Spirit.

Even the fountains glimmer in the sun.

This year, I am in the USA celebrating Christmas with my daughter and granddaughter. But I cherish the memories of past Christmases in Italy. 

And I cherish all of you who follow along on my journey, reading about Living in Italy, Traveling in Italy, Being Italian and American and Living Alone. Thank you all for considering my services as a travel planner for your personal adventures in Italy. Thank you for reading about ups and downs of travel, and ups and downs of life. 

May your holidays be blessed with love and kindness. Let there be peace on Earth for all people of all faiths.

Ciao for now!

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