A Traditional Italian Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve in my family…is, well, magical. It’s by far the best day of the year. I’ve taken pictures and will do my best to share our traditions, but it’s something that is really difficult to explain unless you’ve experiened it yourself. It’s a day where traditions that have existed long before I was born continue and come to life.

The night begins with antipasto.


Lots and lots of appetizers, mostly fish.


Family sits around the L shaped table that my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Bob set up.


We wine and dine, catch up and gossip, and take lots of pics.



As if the appetizers were’t filling enough, the main course comes next…Lobster!


Now, I don’t eat fish so I typically fill up on lots of appetizers, but the lobster claws and lobster pasta is a tradition that is long awaited by many family members all year long!


After dinner, my cousin Jackie assigns groups of people sections of the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” for us to sing. Every year people forget their lines, make up the words, or just get plain silly. It’s a riot. Below is a video I made this year of us singing. You can’t see all of the groups because they are spread throughout the house, but you can hear them.

Such fun!

Soon enough, it’s time for Santa’s visit. Every year, the males of the family take turns dressing up as Santa Claus. Santa passes out a present to each child in the family- it’s the most anticipated event of the year.


The kids wait at the window and scream when they see Santa coming. Aunt Nancy’s living room becomes crammed with everyone trying to snap pictures of their child on Santa’s lap.


It’s a pretty awesome moment! Once Santa leaves, the room erupts into a frenzy of wrapping paper and joy as everyone exchanges presents galore.


As silly as it sounds, it wasn’t until college that I realized how special my family was.


Call me naive, but I didn’t realize all families didn’t get together like this. I had no idea that a relative dressed as Santa Claus didn’t visit every family. That the seven fishes wasn’t something enjoyed in all houses. That chestnuts roasted on an open fire didn’t grace every plate.


I truly didn’t. And once I did it made me appreciate it all that much more.


Merry Christmas!

What are some traditions that come to life in your family on Christmas?


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