Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions

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Margaux, from Provence, France:
“I spend Christmas day at home with my family. After, we go on a trip to the Alps. I used to ski when I was younger, but now I’m rusty. Our mountain trip usually involves sledding and snowball fights. It’s great!”

Chiara, from Sicily, Italy:
“I have a very big extended family (my mum has 6 siblings), so every year on Christmas Eve we have a huge get together at my grandmother’s house and there are around 30 people among uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and grandnephews. We have a huge dinner with homemade spaghetti and then a course of fish (just one though, not seven like Ally) among the many things we eat. Then just before midnight we sit around the huge Christmas tree and exchange gifts. Do the math and you can have an idea of how many presents there will be under the tree… at least 100! It’s a great way to end the evening and we all go to bed at the wee hours of the morning, ready to have another huge meal for lunch the following day.”

Bene, from Treviso, Italy:
“The two big traditions in my family for Christmas are to have all the decorations out on December 1st and to open the presents on Christmas Day. Personally, I love the excitement of going to bed not knowing what I’ll find under the tree and waking up the next day with many presents under it. Although all of my family members and I are grown up, we still like to keep the tradition going.”

David, from Gijón, Spain:
“Although traditionally not similar, el Día de Navidad seems to be becoming more and more like Christmas in America. Presents are typically given on the 6th of January, but as children’s break from school begins a few days prior to Christmas Day, many families choose to give their children their gifts on the 25th for practical purposes, as that way they have much more time to play with them than if the family waits until el Día de Reyes. Also, the figure of Santa Claus, referred to as Papá Noel in Spanish, is becoming more popular in Spanish society, and some even believe this will eventually replace the Reyes Magos as the primary gift-bearer during the Christmas holidays. Just like Nochebuena, el Día de Navidad is a family-oriented celebration, typically consisting of a meal shared together, including delicacies and special holiday foods.”

Ally, from Florida, USA:
“For me, Christmas Eve is just as important as Christmas Day. My family and I usually go to Christmas Eve mass before having a ‘Feast of the Seven Fishes’. Funnily enough, even though this tradition comes from Southern Italy’s celebration of ‘La Vigilia’, or ‘The Vigil’, no Italian that I’ve come across actually knows what this tradition is! It’s safe to say that this has evolved to be known as an Italian-American custom. After our family dinner, my little sister and I normally go to sleep in matching pyjamas and have coffee and Christmas cookies for breakfast while we open presents Christmas morning.”

Sara, from Castellón, Spain:
“When I think about my Christmas in Spain, the first memory which comes into my mind is waking up on the 22nd of December, switching the TV on and watching some kids picking up balls from the inside of a giant drum and singing the numbers of a millionaire prize! That’s how Christmas starts in Spain, everyone is paying attention to the TV or to the radio and hoping to be among the lucky people who will win the lottery! Unfortunately, I have never been one of those lucky people, but hope is the last thing to die!
Rather than Christmas’ Eve I do enjoy more New Year’s Eve. In Spain we have a tradition and you must eat a grape at each stroke of the bells at midnight, it brings you good luck! And I can assure you it is not easy at all to eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds, but it is definitely great fun!”

Carlo, from Milan, Italy:
“Every Christmas I go back to Milan. I have a nice meal with my mother, father and grandmother on my mother’s side. Then, after we eat, we go and eat some more as we pay visits to family members who live around Milan. After eating all day, we go home to go to sleep early, or maybe play a game of poker.”

Adrian, from Essex, UK: 
“I used to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas every Christmas Eve (even before it became popular, I might add). This year my girlfriend and I are going to my parents’ house. We’ll have brunch and open presents on Christmas Day, then we’ll go to my uncle’s house where we’ll eat more and maybe even take a little nap.”

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