Time honored traditions – Neapolitan Christmas tidings

christmas1With Christmas around the corner and so many festive people in Naples, it’s no wonder so many of our favorite Life in Naples readers hold Christmas traditions so dear.

Trimming the Christmas tree, gathering for a meal, crafting thoughtful newsletters, each has a meaning and embodies the joy of the season. Here are a few Christmas traditions we love.

“The very best part of Christmas in our Italian/French home was Christmas Eve. After a 4:30 Mass in which my children participated in the live Nativity, we would return home to begin the process of cooking the seven fishes in an assortment of ways. It was a culinary feast for all the senses with a large family present to sample all the delectable dishes from fried squid, shrimp, scallops and smelts to pasta with various toppings. As the chief cook and bottle washer, I derive more pleasure watching the tasting process and conviviality around our kitchen table than anything else. It truly was a time of coming together in happiness and love to celebrate the birth of Jesus.”

– Louise Penta

“Every year I celebrate Christmas Eve at the home of my grandparents. I head to Marco Island with my dog, Louis, in the early afternoon excited to share good laughs and  better food.

christmas2My grandmother is always in the kitchen preparing a feast while my grandfather and I solve world problems. Family arrives and everyone is always congregating in the kitchen nibbling and drinking wine (the pickled eggs are my favorite). We are all reminded not to touch the food before dinner as there will not be any left, but there is always enough food at the dinner table to feed an army. As dinner approaches my grandfather sharpens his knives and us girls set the table. It is tradition to eat prime rib, twice baked potatoes, asparagus or Brussels sprouts, with homemade Caesar salad. It is always a surprise what desert will be served but we all know it will be homemade. After dinner we exchange gifts and listen to Christmas music. I always spend the night and wake up the next morning to amazing smells coming from the kitchen. Breakfast consists of a homemade honey puff, fresh fruit and bacon. Recently we have been spending time on the boat Christmas day and enjoying the company of our family and friends.”

– Kelly Cooper

christmas 3“My favorite Christmas tradition is baking my mother’s gingerbread cookies with my daughters but making my sister do all the work, while I sip some holiday cheer. I do help with the frosting and sampling, of course.”

– Shelly Stayer

“My absolute favorite Christmas tradition, which has been going on for generations, is an annual family reunion on Christmas Eve. Relatives from all over the world get
together for our annual Christmas carol singalong replete with printed song sheets, music accompaniment, food and drink. What makes this so special is that it is the one time of the year that we can all reconnect with each other and welcome new family members who are adding to the growing extended family through marriage or the birth of new children into the family. It is traditional for each person to choose his or her favorite Christmas carol starting from the youngest to the oldest until all songs have been sung.”

– Charlie McDonald

“My Christmas card/newsletter includes a page of photos from the past year. Putting this together allows me to reflect on the year and share my highlights with friends and family. It also allows me to stop and think about each person as I write a personal note to them. I also love receiving newsletters from others and catching up on their special moments.”

– Kamela Patton

christmas4“Sitting at the lunch table just after the Christmas tree had been decorated my mother would say, “Oh! Did you hear that!?” Of course none of us kids had heard a thing. She would then rush us in to see the tree that was now somehow magically decorated with candy canes. We continued that tradition with our kids and on any given Christmas, guests in our home most likely will find candy canes hanging from the boughs.”

– John Cox

“Our favorite Christmas tradition is decorating our inside house door frames with Christmas ribbon and then attaching all of the Christmas cards, pictures and holiday messages to the ribbons for the Christmas holidays and to ring in the New Year. This way we are constantly reminded of all of the people who share their thoughts with us. Our Christmas Eve tradition is the serving of a buffet of fish plates to invited close friends and relatives and giving out small holiday remembrances. On Christmas Day we celebrate the exchange of gifts with loved ones.”

– Joan and Neil Curley

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