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  • An Overview of Holiday Traditions in Italy
    Find out about how Italians celebrate Christmas and see if there are any Italian traditions you can bring into your holiday
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    The feeling of Christmas is bottled up in my heart right now. I've spent a couple of holiday seasons in Italy, and I have to admit that I don't care for it in the way I do American Christmas. It lacks the showmanship of an American Christmas. But there are some lovely traditions that my family has maintained through the years. You can infuse your holiday with an Italian vibe. Here are some traditions that might interest you.

    Christmas in Italy
    For starters, you can get an overview of what a typical holiday celebration in Italy is like – from the fish dishes on Christmas Eve to La Befana, the Christmas witch. Reading “Christmas in Italy” will also give you a bit more background about my personal Christmas memories of Italy. Even if you're like me and spending the holidays in New Jersey, you will get ideas for making an Italian Christmas in your home.

    Edible Gifts Italians Will Love
    In this short article, you will get timeless ideas about food that can serve as a suitable gift for the Italians or Italophiles in your life. If you're having trouble coming up with gifts for colleagues or loved ones, these suggestions might really help you.

    Build an Italian Nativity Scene
    The presepio or Italian nativity scene is a tradition in Naples, Italy, and it's something you could easily incorporate into your holiday. You could go simple and have a manger scene under your tree or go big (like my father does) with an entire room dedicated to the presepio with all sorts of characters, ceramic houses, and figurines. In addition to this article, you can see examples in photos of presepi from Ischia, an island off the coast of Naples, on my Web site.

    Have an Italian Christmas
    Find out everything – from traditional fish recipes to popular Italian holiday songs – in this article. You'll be singing “Tu Scendi dalle Stelle” all season long and well into the new year. It's that kind of song!

    Bring on the Christmas Witch
    My little cousin recently reacted to the Italian Christmas witch, who leaves toys in stockings and shoes on Jan. 6, the Epiphany, by saying, “Ew, that's disgusting. Who wants gifts in their smelly sneakers?” Still, it's an excuse for more celebrations and kids will most appreciate extra little gifts.

    Play Games
    Tombola plays a major role in the Italian holiday season. Find out what it is and how to play – and then join in the fun.

    Di Meglio is the Guide to Newlyweds for About.com and you can read about her life and career at her Web site.

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