As a special Xmas content for our website, we prepared two special posts, different from the ones we usually write. Instead of talking about traveling around the wonders of Tuscany, this time we take a tour into our family customs and traditions of Christmas.

It is also a way to know the two of us better: Nicola and Edoardo. We hope you enjoy the read and in the meantime, we wish you happy holidays sending you lots of love and Christmas cheer.

Decorations Traditions of Christmas in Tuscany

Nicola’s traditions of Christmas

When I was a child, days before Christmas were full of emotion and curiosity. The excitement for the arrival of Santa was super high. And for the presents requested in my Santaโ€™s Christmas letter too.

The Christmas Tree and the Nativity Scene

My happiness started on the 8 December with the decoration of the Christmas tree and the creation of the nativity scene. I used to help my mother with joy and together we chose the best tree to buy. We have always preferred a fir-tree with roots because at the end of the holiday we used to plant it in our countryside property.

Today, we still have decorations from my parentsโ€™ childhood, and I keep them as a treasure handling them with care.

Nicola Traditions of Christmas in Tuscany

My favorite thing was preparing the nativity scene. We used to collect the moss and the cork for the hut directly from the forest. It was really fun for me to place the figurines in the scene created by my mother. Make the desert with cornflour, the snow with wheat flour, waterfalls and creeks with aluminum foil.

Christmas tree

Another of my personal traditions of Christmas was to prepare a little snack, usually some biscuits and milk, for Santa Claus and his reindeer. So, once they arrived bringing me presents, they could have rest with something to eat and drink. I remember that once, I woke up in the middle of the night and I spent a few minutes waiting for Santa hidden behind my bedroom door. Seeing that no one was coming, I went back to sleep losing the opportunity to see him.

The Christmas Eve

In my family, Christmas Eve has always been a quiet time to spend on our own. My parents, having a shop were working hard till late afternoon so, we used to stay at home, having a simple dinner with tortellini in broth and boiled chicken. Then, I used to go to the Christmas mess at midnight.

The tradition says to do not eat meat on the eve. For us, Christmas is more a chance to spend time with all the loved parents than a religious feast, and we do not follow exactly all religious rules.

For us, Christmas means Family: meet relatives, grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins and grandchildren. It’s one of the few moments of the year that we can spend time together. And possibly enjoy it!

Traditions of Christmas: the 25 December

The highlight of Xmas is the 25 December. When I was a child, that day started very early in the morning. Obviously, I was so excited that I could not sleep for so long. I used to climb down the stairs and run under the tree to open the presents. The happy eyes of my mum and my beloved grandparents were staring at me. Waiting to see the surprise coming on my face.

Ladies of the house were in charge to make a delicious lunch meal. My grandmother, my mum, and my aunt usually served classic dishes of the Tuscan traditions of Christmas: chicken liver crostini, tagliatelle with meat ragout, capon broth, lamb, and boiled chicken. As a dessert, we had Tuscan Christmas cakes as Cavallucci and Panforte, but also Pandoro, Panettone, and nougat.

Christmas cakes from Tuscany

In the course of time, we changed the menu. We switched from a classic Tuscan meat meal to a lighter but still delicious fish menu followed by other cakes as the handmade waffle of my motherโ€™s aunt, brittle and sweet peaches.

After a restoring post-lunch nap, the afternoon passed playing with my cousin. We had to try the new toys received from Santa, while adults played cards or bingo. Instead, if the weather was good, a great option was to take a digestive walk along the beach admiring the sea and the rays of light on the water.

For dinner, people who were still hungry could have some lunch leftovers but most of the family, after such a big lunch feast, was fine with some sweets and a warm cup of tea.

Sea view from Piombino Promontory in Tuscany

Today’s Christmas celebrations

Today, although I grew up, many of the traditions of Christmas remain. I am still the boy of the decoration of the Christmas tree. There is not the nativity scene anymore but I am happy to set the lights up on the facade of my house. And let it shines at night for the entire Xmas holidays.

We use to organize parties and dinner with my closest friends and their sons for Xmas Eve. But 25 December is still the day to open presents with my parents and to have lunch with relatives and grandchildren we love the most.

Hoping you enjoyed this little story about my Christmas, now it’s time to read and smile with Edoardo’s Christmas experience.

If you are gluttonous of candies and sweets you cannot miss peek into this list of traditional Christmas cakes of Tuscany.

8 thoughts on “Traditions of Christmas in Tuscany, Nicola’s Memories

  1. Kristina says:

    Hi, Nicola! I recently visited Volterra (for Christmas) and took a picture of a tree with many sheets of paper with something written on them (unfortuantely in Italian, and I couldn’t understand what was written). I spent a lot of time looking for information what is this tradition but couldn’t find anything. Do you have any idea?

    • Nicola Bandini says:

      Hi Kristina, thanks for your message. I guess it was a special Christmas tree decorated with people wishes. Was the Xmas tree in the main square of Volterra, Piazza dei Priori? It was 20 years that the square was not decorated with a Christmas tree. By the way if you show me the picture (through our facebook page or email) I can have a look and have a better idea.

    • Nicola Bandini says:

      Hi Kristina, thanks for your message. I guess it was a special Christmas tree decorated with people wishes. Was the Xmas tree in the main square of Volterra, Piazza dei Priori? It was 20 years that the square was not decorated with a Christmas tree. By the way if you show me the picture (through our facebook page or email) I can have a look and have a better idea.

      • Kristina says:

        Hi, Nicola! Thank you for your answer. No, the tree was not on the main square but in one of the closest streets. I also thought that it might be a wish tree and had an idea to write and hang my wish as well, but then I thought that it might be for the things that you want to leave behind and never ever happen to you again, that’s way I couldn’t take thi risk ๐Ÿ˜‰ It was also interesting that the Christmas tree on the main sqaure, as well as almost every little tree and bush in front of the citizens’ houses were decorated with white ribbons (we are used to see mainly red and golden decorations for Christmas, not white). Why the square was not decorated for 20 years? ๐Ÿ™‚ https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/83a2afaa73af0f5850335c5d72da487e90e6cf65f2b92f011d9bf88542e2ce24.jpg

        • Nicola Bandini says:

          Hi again Kristina, thanks for sharing the pic of the tree. It is really cute!! ๐Ÿ™‚ It seems an olive oil tree! ๐Ÿ™‚ Usually, all decorations of the village during Christmas time are established by the Municipality, so I think that this year they chose the white as main colour to decorate the whole village. Concerning the tree in main square, I actually don’t know the reason why the Municipality decided to do not put any tree in the middle. I tried to do some research but no one helped me. Instead, I know that every New Year’s Eve the Piazza dei Priori is the main stage of celebrations for the New Year. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Nicola Bandini says:

          Hi again Kristina, thanks for sharing the pic of the tree. It is really cute!! ๐Ÿ™‚ It seems an olive oil tree! ๐Ÿ™‚ Usually, all decorations of the village during Christmas time are established by the Municipality, so I think that this year they chose the white as main colour to decorate the whole village. Concerning the tree in main square, I actually don’t know the reason why the Municipality decided to do not put any tree in the middle. I tried to do some research but no one helped me. Instead, I know that every New Year’s Eve the Piazza dei Priori is the main stage of celebrations for the New Year. ๐Ÿ™‚

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