What I Wish Everyone Knew About an Italian Christmas

An Italian Christmas

Of all the holidays we celebrate, Christmas is my favorite. The decorations, spoiling family with gifts, and the massive amount of cooking, it’s the best. More than with most other holidays, Christmas typically involves cooking for friends and family, as well as neighbors and community service personnel like postmen and dry cleaners. One of the favorite things we enjoy doing together during the holidays is to cook and bake, making my kitchen the center of holiday cheer in the home. Usually we’re planning the next meal while we’re at it, especially during the holidays when we tend to indulge our pallets a bit more. In our home, we celebrate Christmas with traditional Italian foods, particularly those my husband grew up with and enjoyed. His family blended Calabrian and Roman regional dishes, many of which we still prepare today.

An Italian Christmas is centered on faith, family and a wealth of food. Throughout the holiday season, food plays an important role. Days, sometimes weeks, are invested in the preparation of the feast and all its attendant treats. Many are recipes that have been passed down through generations, however every region has its own traditional recipes, typically prepared in large quantities for sharing with family and friends.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve photo

Photo by kevin dooley

While the season may fill a different specific time frame, depending on the region, typically December 24th and 25th are the primary days of celebration, often involving a two-day feast. Christmas Eve courses traditionally feature varieties of fish. These can include antipasto seafood salad, seafood and vegetable antipasti, pasta dishes like spaghetti with tuna, fettuccine with smoked salmon, or even a risotto with mixed seafood. Main entrees can be baccala’, which is a dried salted cod dish, eel, lightly baked salmon, or stuffed trout, accompanied by a plethora of complimentary side dishes like rosemary roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables. A palette cleansing salad is then offered, followed by desserts! Desserts can be various Italian cookies, filled with figs or nuts, fruit tarts, even fried and sugared sweets like zeppole, or struffoli. There is also usually a huge selection of sweets, fruits (dried and fresh), and a selection of nuts.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day photo

Photo by ancasta1901

On Christmas Day, the feast continues! Stuffed pasta, like tortellini or cappelletti, in a meat broth is a favorite, followed by a course of stuffed capon or goose if you’re from northern Italy, and continued seafood delights if you’re from southern Italy. Complimentary sides like artichokes cooked in white wine, or gratin of oven-roasted vegetables are offered. Round two of desserts will include Christmas sweet breads, panettone in particular. Stuffed with ice cream and served with a chocolate sauce or even plain with a sweet wine, Italian sweet breads are famous holiday treats enjoyed the world over. Sweet breads can also be filled with spices, nuts, and dried fruits… known as speziato, panforte, or pandoro. They’re often offered as gifts throughout the holiday season!

Italian Christmas is characterized by abundance. No matter what regional origins you favor, there’s bound to be lots of family, food, and love. 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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