An Italian Christmas

Christmas is just days away and here at Li’l Rizzo’s, we thought it would be fun to take a look at Christmas celebrations in Italy. Believe it or not, Christmas in Italy can look very similar to Christmas here in the United States. There are several traditions, though, that make it unique to their culture. The Christmas season in Italy lasts from the beginning of December till January 6th for La Befana. While St. Nick is a part of their Christmas celebrations, he is not the focus. Instead, they celebrate a kind "old witch" who brings gifts to the children on January 6th. The best Italian restaurant at the Lake of the Ozarks has a few other interesting and fun facts about Christmas in Italy! Check them out below and come enjoy the best Italian food at the Lake of the Ozarks this holiday season.


You can expect to see a lot of singers and hear traditional carols around Italy during the 8 days before Christmas, or Novena. If you're around Rome, Southern Italy or Sicily, you may even be lucky enough to see shepherds (zampognari) who come down from the mountains and play bagpipes.


When Italian’s choose to exchange their gifts depends on where they are from. In most places, gifts are exchanged on Christmas day after lunch. However, there are a few northern towns that believe that the blind St. Lucia brings gifts to the children on December 13th, and so they open their gifts then.


All throughout Italy, you'll find the joy of Christmas spread throughout the towns and cities. There are Christmas markets full of sweets, fruits, nuts and even gifts. You'll still find Santa around town so you can take photos with him, but you'll also find La Befana (the good witch) so you can take photos with her as well.


Some Italians believe that Christmas Eve is a day of fasting, and though they may eat a light dinner that night it will mostly consist of fish and no other meats. Christmas dinner, on the other hand, is an extravagant meal, and many Italians will save up so they can make it amazing. On Christmas night, the children will leave milk and "biscotti" (biscuits) out for St. Nick, but on January 6th, they leave "vino rosso" (red wine) for La Befana.


The entire family at Li'l Rizzo's wants to wish you a very Merry Christmas! Both of our restaurants will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so that we can enjoy the holiday with our family. We hope to see you after the holiday and celebrate the end of this wonderful season at the best Italian restaurant at the Lake of the Ozarks! Merry Christmas!

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