This is my seventh Christmas here in Northern Italy. Where has the time gone?!? It almost seems like yesterday Christmas 2002, my first Christmas here. I always stay here in Italy for Christmas, I do not go back to the States for the holidays. The main reason being is that I do not wan to run the risk of getting stuck in an airport for a day or two due to a blizzard.
So what is Christmas like here, at least in Northern Italy? There are not a lot of differences between Italy and other countries like the United States or Canada. Some people do put up Christmas trees and decorate it, depending if they have the space for the tree in their apartment. In this area there are more apartment buildings compared to single family homes. Therefore there are not any Christmas lanes like in the States or Canada. More and more people though are decorating their balconies, usually with Christmas lights and the “in” thing is also having a hanging Santa Claus off the balcony.
Last night we went to a Christmas Party in Milan. The parts of the city we were in was all lit up, with tree trunks covered in Christmas lights. Strands of lights on light poles to appear as trees.
A typical bread, usually in and around Milan is panettone. Panettone is kind of a sweet bread with raisins and candies. Then there is pandoro, which is kind of similar to panettone, but sweeter and no candies.
Our family Christmas traditions are pretty simple and “normal”. On Christmas Eve we go to my husband’s parents for dinner and usually open presents. Then on Christmas Day we go to my husband’s sister’s house for lunch. This year we’re going to be opening presents on Christmas Day, for my niece. She still believes in Santa Claus.