For Americans, the holiday break ended yesterday. But we Italians still have one more day of celebrating to do. Today is the Epiphany, the day the three kings arrived at the manger to greet baby Jesus. In many parts of the world, people call this day Little Christmas. Because it was the kings who brought gifts to the newborn child, this is the day that folks in Europe traditionally exchanged presents. Through the years, the idea of Santa Claus coming on Christmas Day has changed all that. Still, the Italians are home from work and feasting on great food and waiting for a visit from another holiday personality. As a result, I wanted to offer you this list as my gift to you. It was also a chance for reflection on the holiday season that just past. Everything on this list literally happened to me. If at least three of these things ring true for you, too, then you can call yourself a bona-fide Italiano. Here goes:
10. In place of wrapped goodies under your tree, your relatives placed grocery bags…filled with groceries. Merry Christmas. True story.
9. After you popped open the third bottle of homemade vino on Christmas Eve, your brother and cousins put the Elf on the Shelf and Befana dolls in compromising positions. Bet you still can’t get that image out of your head.
8. Nonno got very upset about the grandkids changing up his presepio (nativity scene) art and throwing the artificial snow around.
7. The amount food at your holiday events might not even fit in Juventus’ home stadium.
6. Hearing your father try to sing, “Jingle Bells” with his Italian accent and broken English never got old. In fact, it has you looking forward to next year already.
5. You had to break up a fight over the Tombola board. Italians take that sh.. seriously, man.
4. You played Scopa for peanuts or beans.
3. You’re still drowning in leftovers.
2. You ate as many lentils as you could fit into your mouth on New Year’s Eve in the hopes that it would make you rich.
1. You woke up this morning to either carbone (coal, if you were naughty) or regali (presents, if you were nice) after you let an old Italian witch into your house last night. In your defense, it was late and dark and she was sweeping up with a broom. Add those orthopedic shoes, kerchief, and rolled down stockings, and you could easily have mistaken her for Nonna.