“My Travel in Tuscany” celebrates this Christmas sharing with you two special posts for the occasion. We wish to tell you our childhood memories about the Christmas Traditions and how we used to spend these holidays with our relatives.
The Tuscan Christmas traditions - Edoardo's Childhood memories
Memories of my Christmas traditions are still vivid in my mind. When I was a kid, my mom did everything to make feel the Christmas spirit to my two younger sisters and to me. I learnt by her side on decorating Christmas tree, and set up the nativity scene, one of the most evident Christmas traditions in Italy. Thanks to her we hand down Christmas traditions in our family.
Decoration for Christmas
At the beginning of December, I always started asking to my mum when it could be possible starting to decorate the house with the Christmas tree and the nativity scene. The answer was always the same: “Is too early Edoardo, just wait few more days!” I could not wait. So most of the times, I used to go in the storage closet looking for boxes containing Christmas decorations. I really loved watching all the shining colors of balls and ribbons, and all the tiny crib figurines. Unfortunately for my mother, I was so demanding that she surrendered allowing me to decorate the living room. My sisters were following me being the older brother. Every year, I used to save money to buy a new crib figurine. I remember I was collecting real moss to simulate the grass, barks to simulate rocky mountains, and corn flour to simulate the desert sand. Moreover, every year I created new equipment: using real rocks, or a bowl filled with water to simulate a lake, or placing action figures like Smurfs, Snorks, or the Master of Universe, that were mingling around with shepherds and sheep.
Christmas Eve dinner
On 24 December, my parent’s house hosted the Christmas Eve dinner. This was the opportunity to stay with the closest members of my family, like my grandmother Emilia, my aunt and his husband, my uncle and of course my family of five.
My house was literally invaded of people and excitement. My mother was busy in the kitchen preparing the dinner, helped by my grandmother. My sisters and I were helping on setting the dinner table, with special dinnerware and a special red tablecloth. We also put as centerpiece one of my mother Christmas creations, made with holly, mistletoe, red berries, Christmas decorations and a big red candle in the center.
When the rest of the band arrived carrying on bags full of Christmas presents, we started to scream, believing or pretending to believe that our relatives met Santa just outside the door, giving them gifts for us.
Edoardo with Santa Claus
Christmas Eve menu
The dinner menu still includes dishes of the Tuscan tradition and really well-finished. Dinner starts with a wishes toast, thanking God for spending another Christmas together.
After drinking some sip of Prosecco, we start with Tuscan crostini (made with chicken livers and toasted bread) plus other canapé as appetizers. Cappelletti with capon broth (a type of ring-shaped ravioli filled with meat) are the first course.
As second course we generally have roasted guinea fowl with roasted potatoes and salad, sauté chard and large white beans dressed with real tuscan extra virgin olive oil.
My family is really keen on Panettone (typical of Milan) and Pandoro (typical of Verona) and they could not miss on the table. The gluttons prefer to garnish them with Nutella, but honestly, this is not a real Tuscan delicacy, as other Christmas cakes that fill the trays like Ricciarelli and Cavallucci, typical of Siena.
The 25 December at the rise of dawn, my sisters and I could not stay in our bedrooms. Slowly, we were slipping away to meet each other under the Christmas tree and unwrap the presents. Our screams of joy on receiving the desired presents used to awoke our parents. We run on their bedrooms, grateful to Santa Claus, desirously to share our happiness with them, embracing and kissing them, jumping on their bed mattress. Then our mother gave the directives on how to dress for the Christmas day and we went to the Christmas mass.
After the mass, my sisters and I joined the rest of the family at our grandmother house for the lunch. Enter in my grandmother Emilia house meant enter in a cloud of traditional cuisine perfumes. I still perfectly remember the fragrance of her ragout sauce used to seasoning her delicious homemade ravioli.
She was always very busy preparing the last food that she couldn’t stop working. Moreover she always welcomed us with a huge hug and a warm smile, asking us which presents we received from Santa. We tried to describe her our toys in details but I am sure she couldn’t understand because of the difference of age.
The atmosphere at table was really enjoyable and everyone congratulated with my grandmother for her ability on preparing the traditional Christmas food that also included fried rabbit as second course served with fried vegetables and baked potatoes. Of course the classic Christmas dessert could not miss.
Once the lunch was over, we children finally had the time to play with the new games and enjoy the company of our grandma, before to go home, tired but happy for the day just passed.
These were some of my memories about Christmas. Being a family of five, you can imagine how magic but crazy atmosphere there was in our house.
Have a look also to Nicola’s story. Even if he was the only child of his family, has nice memories to tells you anyway.
If you love candies and sweets I guess you will read also the post about the traditional Christmas cakes of Tuscany.