"Whatever your hands find to do, verily do it with all your might" Ecclesiastes 9-10

Saturday, December 16, 2006

PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS.....


The tree is lit (though it doesn't show well on the picture), and our brand new fireside is ready....

We cannot use a real Christmas tree, since our grandson, Andrea, develops many allergies for the moment, but the symbol is well present and that's what matters, anyway....

Our big chimney was designed and built by DH, 25 years ago, when we built the house. Until last winter, the fireside was totally open, but I was complaining about the dust, especially on the wall papers. So, this year, we decided to insert a "fire cassette", as they call it. It took three days work, as we (I) didn't want to break the chimney.... what a woman wants.......

Now we're ready for celebrations. Christmas at home is always very simple, but festive. We do our best to have the whole family together, which means the brothers & sisters and their children... plus eventually the children's children. This brings us to approx. 25 to 30 people around the table, on the 24th. The menu is always the same, following my in law's Italian traditions : it's a fish and seafood menu. My mother in law once told me this : "no meat on the night when Christ is born ! Christ was poor, and fish was often on the menu..." Well maybe she's right, but fish and seafood are not affordable to the poor people, at this time of the year ! Oh well, she likes it that way,she's 83 now, and she's such a nice mum to me.....

(do I tell you something funny ? When we kiss goodnight, long after midnight, she keeps telling each one : "careful ! don't make love tonight ! it's Christ night ! Be respectful !") LOL !

So what did I say ? Ah, yes, the fish menu... There are many laughters and you can really feel the warmth of a family. All women cook all day, all men take care of the children (and of the wine). The total cost is shared between all of us, except Nonno & Nanna. At midnight, some of us go to the mass, the others watch it on TV, while washing the dishes... When we're all together again, we exchange the presents (one present per person - two weeks before Christmas you take a paper out of Nonno's hat, with the name of the one you will offer a present - same value for every present : approx. 20$ - ). Apart from that : two special presents are bought (one for a man, one for a woman). These are presents for the "party winners" !

And then comes THE party: all women sit around one table and play the "lotery" (you know that game with numbers and cards to fill in...), we laugh a lot (and eat a lot of dry fruit and Christmas cookies). All men sit around another table, playing cards together (and tasting the home made Lemoncello....).

And that's our "Natale"...

On the 25th, some of us bring cookies and sweets to the local old people's home, and then we quietly stay at home, and have a brunch (often composed of some leftovers), each of us with our own children...

Have you got special traditions to tell ? I'm curious to know them !

(I didn't tell you about my own Belgian traditions, as I hadn't any, before meeting DH, and his lovely family.... which has become mine)...

10 comments:

  1. It sounds like a lovely way to spend the holiday - family, laughter, good food and drink, games, presents, etc. Lovely! Your house looks so nice.

    Cheers!

    Evelyn

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  2. i enjoyed reading your post. Lovely pictures too.

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  3. Love the tree and the fireplace. Love your mother-in-law's advice, too! She sounds like a character!

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  4. Traditions are so wonderful -- especially when they bring the ones most dear close to us again

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  5. Your Christmas sounds very wonderful Nadine - and your mother-in-law sounds like a gem. I'm so loving reading about the traditions of others - thanks so much for sharing!

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  6. Nadine....how interesting to read about your holiday celebration...thank you for sharing!

    No kissing on Christmas eve?? hmmm...interesting!

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  7. What a lovely Christmas celebration you have.

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  8. Nadine, I enjoyed hearing about your traditions. Sounds like a lot of fun and love.

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  9. Just lovely hearing how you celebrate the holidays and seeing the decorations and such. No real traditions for us since we moved so far away from our families.

    BUT this year we will be going to a family celebration on 12/30 in Tennessee at my brothers home. Except for a couple of the older nieces and nephews and one brother-in-law we all should be in one spot for a change. Got my fingers crossed about the weather.

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  10. So fun to hear about your family's traditional Christmas Eve celebration, Nadine!

    Your fireplace will play host to many-a-story! It's beautiful...well worth the wait!

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Thanks a bunch for your comments, they just make my day !