An Italian Christmas

Christmas day is one of the most festive Christian holidays in many countries around the world. To many people, it is a favorite time of the year spending time with the family and friends, decorating their homes, involving gift giving, parties and feasting. So, Christmas is an exclusive family affair and everyone feels fortunate to have their family at Christmas time. Moreover on this day, all family members spend time in baking cookies, making fudge and preparing a big Christmas dinner, with all the trimmings. Italians love any holyday that brings together friends and family and of course food, and every family of Italian heritage has their own unique traditions that to celebrate an Italian Christmas.  For these reasons, we want to pass on to you some of our most cherished Italian Christmas traditions, so that you can spread the holiday cheer with your family and friends.  

Italian Christmas

Christmas Eve

Typically December 24th and 25th are the primary days of celebration, often involving a two-day feast. Attending midnight mass and eating a meatless dinner on Christmas Eve is an important part of Christmas in Italy. On Christmas Eve it’s common that no meat. Therefore, the Italian Christmas Eve menu consists of a variety of fish dishes. For instance, a typical Italian Christmas Eve dish is Anguilla marinata or baccalà (cod fish). In addition, various types of shellfish (mussels, clams and other shells, as well as small crustaceans) are served as antipasti misti or together with pasta. A delicious and refined version is linguine all’astice (linguine with lobster).

Favorite appetizers are bread slices spread with butter, ricotta, or mayonnaise and topped with smoked salmon. In addition, a palette cleansing salad is offered, followed by desserts! Desserts can be various Italian cookies, filled with figs or nuts, fruit tarts, even fried and sugared sweets such as zeppole, or struffoli.

For many Italian-American families a big Christmas Eve meal of different fish dishes is now a very popular tradition! It’s known as The Feast of Seven Fishes, a tradition popular among Italo-americans that was celebrated by the early immigrants. The Feast of Seven Fishes consists in eating seven different types of fish prepared in seven different ways. However, it now seems more popular in American than it is in Italy.

Christmas Day

italian christmas

The Christmas Day dinner is the most important Christmas family tradition in Italy. While Christmas Eve’s supper is a meatless meal, on Christmas Day it is permissible to eat meat. Usually it will be stuffed cappone (capon) or tacchino, or mixed roast or roast beef. The main dish par excellence on Christmas Day is stuffed capon. The stuffing consists of sliced meat (veal) and sausage meat (pork), chestnuts, a bit of white wine or Marsala and a little parmesan cheese to which all sorts of spices and other ingredients can be added according to personal taste. Moreover, a Typical pasta dish on Christmas Day the 25th is cappelletti or tortellini in brodo. Brodo, is essentially a broth or stock of either vegetable, chicken or meat.

For dessert, there are all kinds of fancy holiday breads, such as panettone. It contains raisins and candied fruits, and such sweets as cannoli, a cheese-filled pastry, and other delicacies. Many other variations have become popular, too; for example, panettone with chocolate cream, with Grand Marnier, with champagne cream, with figs and chocolate,… there is something for every taste. Another famous Christmas bread is pandoro which originated from Verona. Pandoro, traditionally Veronese sweet bread, is now almost as popular as Panettone. Pandoro never contains candied fruit, which is why some prefer it over panettone. Moreover the Torrone (nougat), with honey or chocolate almonds or pistachios, is the most typical of the Christmas sweets. Popular goodies include sweet honey breads, marzipan, nougat and gingerbread, all symbolizing the sweetness of life.


To sum up, Italian Christmas is an especially time for family and food. Traditional Italian families will typically congregate to celebrate the season by exercising traditions that have been handed down through the generations, or building new ones for future generations.

We, here at Italian Villa, wish you a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year filled with love, good food, and prosperity.


We are one of the premier Italian Restaurants in Allen, TX, offering home-made
traditional Italian cuisine.  Come visit us today at: 121-B N. Greenville Allen, TX
75002, Phone : 972-390-2189

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