Christmas Eve in My Italian Home!

Christmas Eve, the Feast of the Seven Fishes, the Vigil – it’s known by many names, but in any real Italian household it’s mostly known as the biggest family celebration of the year! My house is no exception.  I have hosted Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember.  As our families grow, so does the guest list!  Our night usually begins with Christmas Eve mass followed by the big celebration.

This year we will be celebrating with about 25 “immediate” family members.  It is a particularly special year because both my son, Justin, and my daughter, Jillian, will be there with their future spouses!  I LOVE CHRISTMAS EVE!!  I love the food, I love the drinks, but most importantly, I love the opportunity to have my entire family together to celebrate.  We’ve changed a few things over the years but some things have remained the same.  We try to find a way to incorporate 7 fishes into the menu, always culminating with stuffed calamari over linguine (made by my soon-to-be 85 year old mom!)  Jillian makes her smoked salmon “fish” en croute, and is the bartender for our “candy cane cocktail” (recipe at the bottom of the blog!).

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Justin and Lydia, Jillian and Christian relaxing in the afternoon before the craziness begins!!

 

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My house does not look like a magazine spread on Christmas Eve.  Our tree is decorated with ornaments made by our children and of treasures we have collected from trips over the years.  Some are old and tired but we still put them on the tree – it’s the memories that go with them that are important.  I try to use dishes and platters that were my grandmother’s and my husband’s mom’s.  I make the same cookies every year – just more of them because there seem to be more tins distributed with each passing year.  The night is, well, Italian – loud, jovial, and a sometimes a little crazy.  We try to have a visit from Santa (gets challenging as the little ones get older!) and by the end of the night, my house looks, well, like a happy mess!  Here are some things that remind me of my Christmas Eve and maybe one of them may fit into yours!

 

Our candy cane cocktail would be right at home in this generous size glass and, of course, there has to be a glass for the red wine!  No Italian celebration is complete without a little vino!

Luigi Bormioli Martini Glasses (Set of 4), Nordstrom

Luigi Bormioli
Martini Glasses (Set of 4), Nordstrom

 

Vetro Gold Wine Glass, Bliss Home & Design

Vetro Gold Wine Glass, Bliss Home & Design

 

It’s always a good idea to have lots of coasters around for your guests to set their drinks down safely! (Inevitably 1 will get toppled over, so just be prepared!)

Silver Street Coasters Set of Four, Kate Spade

Silver Street Coasters Set of Four, Kate Spade

 

We usually “cheat” and add tuna and anchovies to our antipasto!  That’s 2 fishes!

Villeroy & Boch Artesano Acacia Wood Antipasti Plate, Williams Sonoma

Villeroy & Boch Artesano Acacia Wood Antipasti Plate, Williams Sonoma

 

And the bread basket has to be big.  Good wine and good bread are imperative!

Vintage Italian wicker basket, Etsy

Vintage Italian wicker basket, Etsy

 

What’s an Italian feast without some pasta?  We alternate between raviolis and lasagne.  This would be a beautiful lasagne dish.

Spode Blue Italian Handled Serving Tray, Wayfair

Spode Blue Italian Handled Serving Tray, Wayfair

 

And a fish for the “fish”!

Vintage Ceramic Fish Platter Made In Italy Extraordinary Serving Piece, Etsy

Vintage Ceramic Fish Platter Made In Italy Extraordinary Serving Piece, Etsy

 

1950s Italian Handblown Art Glass Fish Dish/ Bowl by J. I. CO, 1stdibs

1950s Italian Handblown Art Glass Fish Dish/ Bowl by J. I. CO, 1stdibs

 

A pasta bowl for the stuffed calamari!  I have my grandmother’s that we have used for as long I can remember.  Here’s mine, but the Vietri Pesce Large Serving Bowl is a nice substitute!

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 Vietri Pesce Large Serving Bowl, The Bowl Company

Vietri Pesce Large Serving Bowl, The Bowl Company

 

Add some beautiful charger plates for dessert, and you’re ready to go.  Mangia!!  And Bon Natale!  Merry Christmas!  Look below for Jill’s famous candy cane cocktail recipe!

Arte Italica Merletto 12.25" Charger Plate, Wayfair

Arte Italica Merletto 12.25″ Charger Plate, Wayfair

 

 

Jill’s Candy Cane Cocktail:

Rim glasses with crushed peppermint

1 part vanilla rum

1 part white chocolate liqueur

1 part peppermint Schnapp’s

Swirl in 1 tsp chocolate syrup with a mini candy cane if desired (For the real chocolate lovers!)

 

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Enjoy!

 

Comments

  1. Avatar Jean Leone says:

    I loved this! Thank you for sharing Susan ❤️

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