Holiday traditions play an important role in our lives, and 2020 has presented the perfect opportunity to rethink old traditions and create new ones. The key to enjoying this holiday season will be to embrace the change that comes with it.
We understand that traveling to Italy right now isn’t possible, but we plan to make our home feel like we’re there (and yours, too!) through wine, food, and some of our family’s Christmas traditions.
Bring La Vigilia (Christmas Eve) Virtual
La Vigilia, also known as The Feast of the Seven Fishes, is an Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition. Families come together to bond in the kitchen, learning recipes passed down from generation to generation. It’s a tradition I hold close to my heart. Every Christmas Eve, we celebrate with my Nonna’s famous Cioppino, a seafood stew made with lobster tails, clams, mussels, squid, halibut, and shrimp in a delicate tomato and white wine sauce served over spaghetti. This year, I plan to serve it with a chilled bottle of Madrevite Elve, 100% Grechetto from Umbria.
Even though your family may not get together like they usually would, you can still cook these dishes together virtually. Hop on Zoom, pour a glass of wine, and start cooking. Buon appetito!
Music & Games from Six Feet Apart
When I think of Italy’s holiday season, I think of the sound of Zampognari, or festive bagpipes, filling the streets. The story of Zampognari goes like this: Shepherds would come from miles away to spend time with their families and to entertain the masses with their music. Nowadays, you can still find people carrying on this tradition, humming or dancing along to the festive music in the crowds. This year, to keep the tradition alive and practice social distancing, search “Zampognari music” on Spotify and hit play. To create an even more magical atmosphere, you can break out Tombola while you listen, a popular Italian holiday game similar to Bingo.
Deck the Halls, Italian-Style
Here are a few tips to decorate your home as they do in Rome:
- Decorate your Christmas tree similar to the Spelacchio in the Piazza Venezia with a combination of modern and painted ornaments and plenty of lights! A great family activity is to paint your own ornaments to add to your tree (new tradition alert!).
- Add some greenery above your front door to mimic the Italian cottage doors.
- Create a rustic centerpiece display.
- The most famous Italian Christmas decoration is the presepe, or the nativity set. Live nativity sets can be found in almost every Italian city, so forgo the caroling this year and set up your very own in your front yard!
- We wouldn’t be an Italian-American family if the food weren’t a centerpiece! Both Pandoro and Panettone make an appearance on my table, with the latter served on Christmas morning.
Photos by: Sally Painter
This is such a special time of year and we want to share it with you! Tag us on Instagram or Facebook next time you open a bottle of organic, natural Italian wines. And, if you’d like to have a steady stream of imported Italian wines delivered directly to your door, join our wine club. We’ve got a special $1 offer just for you!