Christmas in Northern Italy

on Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This is my seventh Christmas here in Northern Italy. Where has the time gone?!? It almost seems like yesterday Christmas 2002, my first Christmas here. I always stay here in Italy for Christmas, I do not go back to the States for the holidays. The main reason being is that I do not wan to run the risk of getting stuck in an airport for a day or two due to a blizzard.

So what is Christmas like here, at least in Northern Italy? There are not a lot of differences between Italy and other countries like the United States or Canada. Some people do put up Christmas trees and decorate it, depending if they have the space for the tree in their apartment. In this area there are more apartment buildings compared to single family homes. Therefore there are not any Christmas lanes like in the States or Canada. More and more people though are decorating their balconies, usually with Christmas lights and the "in" thing is also having a hanging Santa Claus off the balcony.

Last night we went to a Christmas Party in Milan. The parts of the city we were in was all lit up, with tree trunks covered in Christmas lights. Strands of lights on light poles to appear as trees.

A typical bread, usually in and around Milan is panettone. Panettone is kind of a sweet bread with raisins and candies. Then there is pandoro, which is kind of similar to panettone, but sweeter and no candies.

Our family Christmas traditions are pretty simple and "normal". On Christmas Eve we go to my husband's parents for dinner and usually open presents. Then on Christmas Day we go to my husband's sister's house for lunch. This year we're going to be opening presents on Christmas Day, for my niece. She still believes in Santa Claus.

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Expat Traveler said...

Well it does sound so beautiful Ann! And I've heard the snow might stick around in Switzerland. I think less people here in Canada put up Christmas trees compared to people in the states. My first Christmas in Switzerland was in 2002 also! I totally enjoyed the experience, especially all of the Christmas markets!

Martin in Bulgaria said...

Sound like most other European towns cna Cities during Christmas on the decoration front, but the food is something else. Panettone, couldn't get enough of it and I would often creep back into the dining room for an extra portion after Christmas dinner in England. I have Italian relations and they always used to bring some.
In Bulgaria Christmas hasn't even got off the starting block. It will after the weekend but reflective than other European countries, the poverty is a major factor behind that.

Lilly's Life said...

It does sound great. I love Panettone and you seem to be able to buy that everywhere now. One day I will have a Christmas in Italy. It certainly is great to hear about your experiences.

Michael said...

They now well pannetone in Belgium as well. One Christmas tradition that is worth importing!

Ann said...

On the way to the Christmas party Monday night, heard on the radio in the taxi a bit of the weather forecast. All I caught was "Northern Italy HEAVY snow, central Italy rain." So I think we're in for some snow. Was talking to a gal Monday night from Bellinzona Switzerland, she said that the mountains surrounding Bellinzona have a lot of snow. My computer techie (literally, by trade) hubby thinks that we're probably in for some snow sometime this winter. Since it's been raining so much lately here.

Jen, I've only been to the Christmas market here in Busto Arsizio, but wouldn't mind checking others out. Here the Christmas market is VERY small and has products from other parts of Italy and not from this region/area. Depending on the weather, I'll TRY to get down and take some photos. Weather depending, since the market is less than a mile from my house I walk plus parking in that area is something to be desired.

Good ol' panettone! I DO like it, but eat it in moderation. The last couple of years have eaten a maximum of two slices. The reason being is that the first year I was here, my mother-in-law would continuously be sending over a panettone. Ended up getting so sick of it that on Christmas wasn't able to eat any. Usually the stores start selling panettone around the beginning of November. Then after New Year's Day the stores drastically slash the prices to get rid of any remaining panettone they have.

casas rurales en cáceres said...

I miss the Christmas markets in Germany. They have them here in Spain, where I currently live but they are not comparable to the German ones.

Ann said...

I've heard the Christmas markets in Germany are awesome. Wouldn't mind one day checking them out.

Ann said...

I'm so glad I found you through I Am Harriet.
I love hearing about Milan life!