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  • How to Send Italian Holiday Cards
    Discover Web sites where you can purchase Italian holiday cards, and learn how to create your own special season's greetings
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    The holiday season is a magical time of year. If you're like me, you're always looking for ways to incorporate your heritage into the season. The first sign of the holidays is the arrival of holiday greeting cards in your mailbox. While most Italians in Italy do not send cards to one another, they definitely appreciate it if you send such greetings to them. After all, who doesn't like a handwritten surprise in their snail mailbox? Even if you're sending your cards to friends and family who live in other parts of the world where they might speak other languages, you might still want to add Italian flair to your greeting. Sending Italian holiday cards is easier than you might imagine.

    For starters, if you want to buy Italian holiday cards, you can visit a few prominent Web sites and select cards in your price range from their collections. At ItaliansRus.com, you will find a few options that include holiday images and Italian-language greetings. DreamofItaly.com offers shoppers winter-themed images of Italy's famous icons, including St. Mark's Square in Venice, on its cards.

    Those with a funny bone will appreciate the zazzle.com cards with images of Santa sipping a drink and saying, "Salute," or greetings from the Italian Christmas Mouse Salvatore. Religious cards featuring the Madonna and child and ones with Italy-centric themes, such as an Italian villa with an outdoor table fit for a feast, are also available on zazzle. Tech-savvy friends and family will appreciate the e-cards – with Italian-language and themes – that are available on 123greetings.com. There, you'll even find an e-card that features La Befana, the Italian Christmas witch, who brings gifts to Italians on the Epiphany on Jan. 6.

    Some people enjoy making their holiday cards or at least buying personalized ones, such as a photo greeting. You can still do that and incorporate the Italian language and themes. The simplest way to do this is to include phrases, such as "Buon Natale," which means "Merry Christmas," or "Buone Feste," which means "Happy Holidays," or "Felice Anno Nuovo," which means "Happy New Year," or "Buon Capo d'Anno," which means "Happy First of the Year.

    You can also write, "Buon La Befana," which is the phrase used to wish happiness and joy on Little Christmas or the Epiphany, when Le Befana brings gifts to good little boys and girls in Italy. If you choose to do that, I would make the entire card about this holiday and include an image of La Befana herself; if you are sending this one to those who might not know about the holiday, enclose an explanation or the legend of La Befana, so it's educational, too. After all, you wouldn't want them to think you mixed up Halloween and Christmas, right? Many people enjoy receiving photos of their friends and family as part of the holiday greeting. You can either order holiday cards with photos from your usual vendor or make them yourself using an application on your computer. Either way, you can use Italian-language greetings or sign off with something, such as "La Famiglia ENTER YOUR LAST NAME HERE." Other ways to close your card include preceding your name with "Vi vogliamo bene," which means "We love you and yours," or "Baci e abbracci," which means "Kisses and hugs."

    Photos themselves can send an Italian message. You can have baby holding up a sign that says "Buon Natale." Or you can wear Italy-themed clothes or carry an Italian flag. Featuring a photo of you in Italy – if you have been there in the last year – is also a nice touch.

    An Italian Christmas is often a religious one, less about gifts and more about the birth of Jesus. If you opt to include religious graphics, you might want to include a prayer in Italian. A Google search will help you unearth the "Our Father" or "Hail Mary" translated into Italian if you don't know how to write it yourself.

    Friends and family will give you extra credit if you enclose a meaningful (even if free) gift with your card. A prayer is one example, but you could also include a recipe for an Italian holiday treat or the words to an Italian holiday song, such as "Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle." The point is to be as creative and generous as the Italians themselves. An Italian attitude will ensure a happy holiday and impressive holiday cards for your loved ones. Buone feste!

    Di Meglio is the Guide to Newlyweds for About.com, and you can follow her life and work at the Two Worlds Web site.


    Article Published 11/21/2011

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