Christmas Traditions Old and New


It’s that time, once again, for the nostalgic thoughts that this Christmas season brings to  mind.  I am reminded of so many Christmas traditions which I grew up with, but also new ones that I have now made into traditions.  It seems that every generation adds something new to their Christmas.

Here are some old Italian traditions passed down from my parents:

My presepe (the Creche):


Panettone – the traditional Italian Christmas bread which is enjoyed with a cup of coffee or even better, with a glass of Asti Spumante or Champagne:


And, of course, the Christmas tree and all the house decorations:


A new tradition that makes up our family’s Christmas is spending a night in San Francisco to take in the vibrant Holiday scene and decorations.

Union Square - San Francisco

Union Square – San Francisco

The Hyatt Regency - San Francisco

The Hyatt Regency – San Francisco

The Palace Hotel - San Francisco

The Palace Hotel – San Francisco

Another of the new traditions that I have made my own is the formal Christmas Eve dinner.  As a child, we always celebrated Christmas Day and never Christmas Eve.  This made for a very busy Christmas Day:  present opening in the morning, rushing off to Mass, and then going to my aunt’s house for the big dinner.  This is how it was done in Northern Italy where my family is from and so they carried on the tradition when they came here. But when I got married, my husband’s family always celebrated Christmas Eve with a formal dinner followed by Midnight Mass.  I loved this tradition and so have made it my own.  I love the look of the elegant table lit by candles and with the glow of the Christmas tree in the background.  As families come together from different backgrounds, the best of the best becomes part of the Christmas traditions to be passed down to the next generation.  I’ll be anxious to see what becomes their new Christmas traditons!

Buon Natale, my dear readers, and may this Holiday season bring you all the magic of Christmas!

4 responses »

  1. Quest’anno lo spirito natalizio mi ha ghermito oggi, quando ho messo insieme il Presepe e sistemato le luminarie sul balcone.
    Nella mia famiglia ci sono poche tradizioni in merito, entrambi i miei genitori sono figli di contadini e d’inverno c’era poco da mangiare, ma abbiamo conservato quello che ci è stato lasciato; ovviamente in termini culinari.
    La sera della vigilia, prima della messa di mezzanotte, alla quale vado persino io, si fanno gli gnocchi di patate con un sugo di pomodoro e cipolle; come li faceva mia nonna paterna.
    Il pranzo di Natale si apre, invece, con i cappelletti, con il ripieno privo di luganiga ma fatto solo con formaggio parmigiano e pochissimo pan grattato, come li faceva mia nonna materna.
    Il bello è che la pasta la facciamo a mano noi il giorno prima, organizzandoci in catena di montaggio e raccontandoci aneddoti di quando i miei erano bambini 🙂

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