Calabria just isn't known for a commercialized type of Christmas--as we have previously explained, traditionally it's a day of food and family--but these things have a way of creeping in slowly. By the end of November, most shops had a variety of Christmas goods for sale. This is becoming more prominent each year. There is quite a price range, from €10 table top trees to beauties costing hundreds of euro. We discovered the fancy trees when we went to our favorite nursery-farm store for a plant--the nicest trees we have seen so far. Each was over €100 bare, then there are the light strings and those ornaments that cost €2-3 each--so one can spend some funds.
We could make room for a large tree, but do not feel the need, and storage for 11 months would be an issue. We replaced last year’s cheap albero di natale with this slightly bigger one--mostly we wanted more lights. The lights twinkle out and down to the street below. Che bello!
More and more people seem to put up light displays at their shops and homes each year. A funny thing in Scalea--two shops have mechanical santas that have motion detectors and when you pass on the sidewalk, they erupt with "Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas!" (in English) and other carols. I noticed today that the larger Santa looks like Chubby Checker doing the twist:)
I enjoyed taking these cheery pictures of the Alberi di Natale:
Di (in the distant mists of time) used to work in a plant nursery that kept open in winter selling decorated faux Christmas Trees. She had fun deciding what the theme of each tree would be. It looks like the folks who created the ones above had similar creative bursts. For those who wish to decide their theme at home you can of course purchase the basics:
Some Christmas articles began appearing in stores early in November, but we didn’t notice right off.
What got our attention more that the holidays are approaching was the boys playing with fire crackers. Alfonso showed me his (2 photos below). In America, Italians are known as the finest firework makers, but here the kids are forced to use poppers made in China. The larger mortars their dads light-off at Christmas and New Years may be Italian made? They would be professional grade in the US...
On Christmas day, we will be sharing a traditional English Christmas Dinner in Old Scalea and I plan to capture images our hosts Clive and Kathryn at work, and with their guests.
Buon Natale, Guido