After an extended blog break (mama’s need a break from all things periodically), we’re moving on in our four-part series, A Month of Christmas, we visited Italy in the second week! It was by far, much more fun than the Mexican Christmas. Maybe because we had a more open week, or perhaps because Italy just has better traditions, either way, it was a blast. The first thing we did was we collected sticks and small things like rocks and seeds we found outside to make a nativity scene. Italians often have many nativities in their homes during Christmas. This ended up not working out as efficiently as we had hoped, and we ended up ditching the effort to take a better, more seasoned crack at it next year. We did, however, complete the ceppo out of nature items. We read mixed reports on what a ceppo actually was. Some referred to it as a yule log, but others said it was a pyramid-shaped “tree” with shelves that held cute momentos and decorative items. It was said to have started in Tuscany. A small nativity scene can be placed on the bottom shelf, but ours was a little too tall.
In Italy, children are told stories of La Befana, an old, cranky witch that lives alone and sweeps her home constantly. We’re avid Kindle Unlimited users, but we couldn’t find any books of La Befana, in case you go searching. We did, however, purchase a book on Kindle (instant gratification, and a less than organized mama) and read The Legend of Old Befana: An Italian Christmas Story.
It’s a cute story! The old woman ends up seeing a procession of people headed to see the new Christ child and invite her. She spends all day baking goodies to take to the baby and forgets to sweep for the entire day. Noticing she’s leaving a mess behind as she begins to head out the door, she grabs her broom and sweeps from her kitchen all the way to the end of her pathway. Not wanting to waste any more time, she begins to run in the direction of the procession, forgetting about the broom still in her hand. Running as fast as she can, she starts to take flight. Spoiler: she never sees Christ, but delivers goodies to good boys and girls who leave her wine and cookies. Ha! We did just that, (after running next door to borrow a glass of wine from my momma, ’cause this mama is not a wine drinker) and she brought them some peppermint bark. Why? Because momma didn’t have any goodies in the house and MY momma did. The kids thought this was so much fun, and they put so much thought into the cookies they baked as well as where and how to leave the cookies and wine.
On the “last day” of our week in “Italy” we made a huge, and I mean that pan of lasagna to share with my neighbor (AKA, my mom, stepdad, and siblings.) It was my step-sisters birthday, so we also baked her a cake.
Traditionally, Italians don’t eat lasagna for Christmas, they eat seafood because they’re usually fasting. Hayden was insistent on lasagna. It was the reason he wanted to do Christmas in Italy. He and Ella worked together to assemble the whole thing, I was very proud of them for working together and following the directions I gave closely.
We had fun visiting Italy for the week! We accomplished so much more as far as following traditions than we did in Mexico. Originally, we were going to also cover France, but my side of the family went on a cruise, adding an extra week to our Christmas, and we did an early Christmas at Hermans parents house. Those, coupled with our own Christmas, lead us to cancel our “flight” to France. 😉
Check out the next installment of “A Month of Christmas: Weeks 3 & 4.5” by following the link.