It has been snowing quite a lot in the past few weeks, with temperature swinging around - 15°C (5°F, if you're more comfortable with Farenheit degrees).
Streets have been impassable for days, and the whole north Italy had been covered by a thick white layer; but, unfortunately, yestarday a hot wind melted the most part of it.
Our Christmas has been a very windy, hot, bright yellow-lighted day - some African wind brought us a sand rain, that gave the landscape a funny sepia shade - with not even a hint of snow.
My older brother, as a (new) member of the citizen band, had to dress up ("Mum, I will never go out like that!", he said) with the band uniform (black suit, green vest and blue tie - I would have felt ashamed, too) to play the flute in our church, for the usual Xmas concert.
At some point he had to perform a solo, and he was tomato-red with embarrassment - just to complete the chromatic whole!
When we got out of the church (that was actually a lot colder than the outside), we had to psychologically prepare ourselves for The Christmas Lunch (with capital letters).
We're a pretty big family, when we are all reunited; so, every time we share some festivity, we have to go to my uncle's restaurant - closed for the occasion - and put all the tables together to achieve this gigantic dining-table.
My mom and her sisters-in-law, supervised by my granny, used the restaurant kitchen to put together two first courses (tortellini and vegetable lasagne), and five - yep, five - second courses (including pig's trotter, osso buco, rabbit stew and two or three kinds of roasted meat, coming with all sorts of handmade, delicious sauces) with plenty of side dishes (roasted potatoes, stew runner beans, mixed salad) and quite a lot of excellent wine. And say nothing about desserts!
I've made a cheesecake and a chocolate cake, my granny a fig jam-and-macaroon pie, one of my aunts a pumpkin pie, and forgetting panettone, marron glacés and chocolates!
Those kind of things are often a tour de force that can wear the sturdiest man out, but when the company is good and the occasion is - thank God - an una tantum, it becomes quite enjoyable.
At the eleventh hour (literally!) I was told I had to decorate the table: somehow, with what I could find turning drawers over and ransacking the restaurant warehouse (I hooked some angel hair from a window, too), I managed to do...
Here I am wearing my mom's Xmas present - an adorable vintage pied-de-poule coat (mid-1960s, I think) with funny astrakan trimming around the neck and sleeves. By my side you can see my brothers - the older one being only 14-year-old, but quite a lot taller than me.
I tried to match the coat with a 1960s hairdo, inspired by superkawaiimama (I would have loved to try a 'flip' like the one showed by Aya, aka StrawberryKoiVintage, but unfortunately my hair is far too long for it to look good).
I used a home-made hair rat (made with my own hair wrapped into a hairnet) to achieve some volume at the top - if you think it's gross, you should talk with my mum, who raised her eyebrow and asked me, why the hell I put a dead mouse on my head?
My dad gave me an amazing vintage garnet ring as a gift, as I adore garnets. This gift caused a little misunderstanding, because my pack and my mum's were wrapped with the same paper, and my dad mixed them up.
When he gave my mum her present, and she opened it, she found my ring and tried to wear it - but she noticed that it was way too small for her fingers. At the same time, I thought I would have loved it, if it was my own gift, and wondered why my dad didn't give it to me.
He saw mum struggling with the ring, and said "Whoops, I must have made a mistake".
Both me and mom thought he was referring to the size of the ring, but he rapidly replaced my mum's gift with mine, and vice versa. My mom started laughing and told me, "Sorry, I spoiled you the surprise!"
Inside my gift was also a note from dad, saying (more or less):
With all the silly geese around the world, why a smart daughter happened just to me?
Anyway, I won't change you for anything else in the world - not even a pack of chewing gums.
Merry Xmas, Cocca.
When I asked him, "What if it was two packs of chewing gums?", he answered, as I knew he would have, "Well, in this case I would look on the exchange."
My brothers had a note into their presents, too.
Enrico's one said
you're a donkey! [And I can confirm it's true, nda], but among all donkeys you're my favourite one.
Merry Xmas, Gibus
Andrea's one said
you're a good kid, and a bit of a mama's boy.
If you were obedient, too, you would be perfect... Too perfect!
Merry Xmas, Chicchi.*
*Now, don't ask me why Giulia is became "Cocca", Enrico "Gibus" and Andrea "Chicchi", because nobody remembers it, and my dad remembers it less than anyone.
Considering that he often calls my mom "Wife" ("Wife, come here just a moment, please" "What time is it, Wife?"), and she calls him by surname, you shouldn't be surprised of those kind of nicknames! :-)