Christmas Eve is one of the longest nights of the year. It's just around the corner and I'm sure you've already organised everything in detail. Through this article I've tried to summarise some of the Italian traditions linked to this magic event. Let's see if you can take a cue!
Christmas Eve Dinner and Christmas Lunch
It's worth emphasising that every family has its own traditions. Faced with the Christmas eve dinner on the 24th and the Christmas lunch on the 25th many people simply choose both. That's the perfect excuse to spend some time with all of your relatives, even those you don't see frequently throughout the rest of the year. Usually people prefer to meet at somebody's house rather than go to a restaurant. Some others decide to rent a vacation home that can accommodate everyone on this special occasion! According to tradition, fish should be eaten on Christmas eve dinner as it's considered less lavish than meat. On the other hand, Christmas lunch is the triumph of rich local cuisine: appetisers, homemade pasta, delicious meats, sweets, dry fruit and sparkling wine. Most committed ones prepare everything themselves, from appetisers to desserts, some others are organised so that each guest brings some food. Don't forget the decorations! All you need is a simple red tablecloth to add a special Christmas touch on your table, a DIY centrepiece and a few lighted candles.
It's a Christmas holiday ritual, awaited by children as much as by adults: I'm talking about board games.
On top of all Christmas games there's bingo: easy to play, suitable for big groups of any age. Involve your kids by letting them draw the numbers or close the card slots. It's even better when there are prizes for the winners!
Card games with their many variations are popular, they often keep you up till late...that's probably why on Christmas morning we're all zombies ;)
Among must-have board games there is Monopoly, Risk, Taboo and Trivial Pursuit, to challenge your general knowledge!
After playing games, at the stroke of midnight some people go to church to listen to the holy mass, others prefer to go in the morning and keep on celebrating exchanging the Christmas presents...as long as children did not open them some days in advance! When there are small kids usually the dad, uncle or a family friend has the thankless task of dressing up as Santa Claus :) It is a custom to prepare for him a cup of milk and some cookies by the fireplace ;)
I wish everybody a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!