Friday, December 25

War on Christmas - WTH?

Christmasy music has been playing 24/7 on some radio stations since November 1st. Windows have been dressed in red & green since Halloween, and Santa decorations compete with pumpkins (Although, just for the record, it's great for finding a Befana should you so desire). But this year, it seems Americans have an urgency to just get Christmas underway. With so much that has gone so wrong for so many, it seems Christmastime or ‘the holidays’, including Hanukkah and Kwanzaa just couldn’t come fast enough. People decorating their houses and yards to such an extent, you’d think Santa Claus was setting up a franchising network starting with your next door neighbor’s front yard.

It’s been a long while since I spent Christmas in the USA and it's usually a bit overwhelming. I prefer the Italian, more understated, more traditional celebrations, right down to the Vienna Philharmonic annual concert broadcast each New Years Day. Last year, hardly anyone noticed we were missing the gorgeous Christmas tree near the Colosseum, but thousands still flock to hear the Pope’s Christmas greetings.
America always seemed more about spend spend spend instead of spend some time with loved ones. But judging from the empty parking lots around the near-empty shopping malls, the store closures and the numerous articles on helping those less fortunate, maybe we’re actually having a helluva celebration. My nephews have rung the bells for the Salvation Army, sung for the old folks in the area, given toys for tots and more. Heck – even the number one movie depicting America’s grim present, Up in the Air is the big Christmas Hit (although I'd prefer to see Alvin-The Squeakuel…)

Thanks to the internet, as I reconnect with people from elementary school, old colleagues, friends and family while baking cookies, wrapping gifts and hearing choir concerts, well, I think it’s going to be a Buon Natale after all, and a pretty Buon Anno too.

Tanti Auguri a Tutti –wherever you may be celebrating the holidays.

4 comments:

Dave514 said...

Francesca:
Augeri Buon Natale!

I was invited for six and I got home at 1 am. In the middle was an Italian seven course extravaganza, with a twist at the end an additional course of turkey stuffing asparagus and cranberry sauce, plus totally inedible sweet potato pie.

Coming from England we don't do sweet potatoes, yams, pumpkins or peanut butter. My uncle once exclaimed "Peanuts! Peanuts! ---They're for monkeys!!"

So the question of the day is why SEVEN courses?

Froelisches Weinacthten!

Francesca Maggi said...

Sounds amazing...will have to read up on the Seven Fishes tradition...! Although currently enjoying La Befana stories from Dream of Italy's Italian Christmas special.
Instead we were 13 at the table (a BIG Italian no-no), but with my baby 9mth old niece, Augustina, we made it to 14...
So no one had to stand!

Dave514 said...

Francesca:
I Googled my question. The tradition is North African Aarab otherwise known as Sicilian and Catholic.

For you youngsters out there, the old rule was you had to Fast for six hours before receiving Holy Communion. In this case before Midnight Mas, even the dreaded Triple Midnight Mass. This latter got one home after three in the morning. So a big and early pigout was in order.

So why Seven courses? Some say, one for everyday in the week. Some however, served six, or 12. Why? Look it up yourself.

Now in French Canada there used to be an even better custom. After the Triple Midnight Mass all the friends and relatives would descend on one of them in a mass congregation of horse drawn sleighs. The sideboard would be groaning with food. The wine flowing freely and the party would go on for three days. NOW that's a party! It's called a "Reveillon" ---A new beginning. As an eight/nine year old I remember attending one. It was only a one nighter though.

Davide

J.Doe said...

Hope your Christmas was merry. I also prefer the Italian style of celebrating Christmas. It is way to commercial in the US