If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

24 December 2006

Aspettando per Babbo Natale

English speakers call him Santa Claus, Italians call him 'Babbo Natale' - literally, Father Christmas (I think actually a slightly-more-affectionate, 'daddy christmas' ... which makes sense, I mean, any man sneaking into our rooms in the middle of the night we should be somewhat affectionate with, right?)

It's Christmas eve, and instead of waiting alone for Babbo Natale to appear down my chimney, I decided to take matters into my own hands and give myself a shot of christmas spirit by going to town to stroll and take in the lights. I was pleasantly surprised - even though it's Sunday - to find all the shops open and the town square bustling. The weather couldn't have been more cooperative - a crystal-clear, starry night, with just a bit of chill in the air. I had seen advertisements for a party held in the main street, by the local ambulance squad, for children - face painting, balloon animals - while the entire group waits for Babbo Natale's arrival: 'down the clock tower'.

Indeed, there was a whole gaggle of the town's children gathered, hopped up on all sorts of sugar and anticipation, being led in songs and games by one of the paramedics on a microphone, including plenty of 'have you been good, little girl?' interviews. And at the appointed time (5:30), he had the crowd of little voices count down and then yell up at the clock tower: "come down, Babbo Natale!" and "we're waiting, Babbo Natale" and of course, "we love you, Babbo Natale!" That last one got him, apparently ... and sure enough, Babbo Natale himself he stuck his head over the edge of the clocktower, maybe 6? stories in the air?, and waved and ho-ho-ho'd at everyone.

And then, just as promised ... he came down the clock tower. By rapelling. WITH his present-laden sacks. Sprinkling candy and glitter down at the crowd waiting below as he made his descent. Color me VERY impressed.

I had a perfect ringside seat for the action, sipping a glass of prosecco, at Mauro's cafe - where I sat next to his singing, dancing, automated Santa (he talked and sang in English, birds of a feather, you know). While I'm not much for the Christmas spirit this year, it was pretty sweet to hear all the little voices. One young girl, when asked on the microphone ... "what do you want to say to Babbo Natale?' said very clearly and plaintively: 'Scendi subito, Babbo Natale!' (Come down right away, Santa!!)

Santa then proceeded to call out every child's name, one at a time, and give them their personalized present (no doubt having been provided in advance by their parents, but ... since I didn't see THAT part of the system, maybe I'd just like to believe in Christmas magic.)

2 glasses of Prosecco later, my Christmas spirit suitably reinvigorated, I made my rounds through town, wishing 'auguri' (regards!) and 'buon natale' to my friends in the shops in town.
A stop at the church to light a candle, with a quiet and simple prayer of thanks that my loved ones are safe this holiday, and I headed back up the hill, to curl up in front of my fireplace and spend a quiet Christmas eve.

Christmas eve will find me, where the love light gleams ... yes, I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.


Anonymous Cj said...

Merry Christmas Viaggiatore!!

Hi my name is Carolyn; hailing just outside the District, in McLean. Love, no,no absolutely love your blog, I've have been a fan/lurker since its inception! Sorry, no scary-ness intended.

I'm not sure if I found you through Patti's "37 Days" or Tania's "Eurobimbo's Journey To Enlightenment" but it's been a pleasure, and so,so many times, an absolute riot to follow. Admire your style, Girl!

Just wanted to pop out to say hi, thanks and happy holidays!

BTW~ I'm relatively new to "blogsphere;" don't have one myself, therefore it feels a bit awkward reaching out as a stranger,(sort of) when you, along with other favorite bloggers, no longer feel like strangers to moi.

Cheers Ms. V with best wishes for the new year~ Cj

4:03 AM  
Anonymous McCats said...

Merry Christmas and God Bless. Thinking of you and admiring "The One Who Makes the VERY Best of...."

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

Buon Natale to you! I too am a faithful reader of your blog.......and admire your strength, courage, insanity (?) of moving to the Italian countryside alone. I am planning a move to Florence this summer....a forever move I hope! Just me, my dog and cat.........try finding an apartment with all of that! Your blog is prodding me on and I admire your fortitude in getting out on Christmas Eve.........I chickened out and just stayed in, went to bed and prayed that it all would end..........but NOT next year! Congratulations on your great life and keep on blogging, I look for new entries each day.


5:40 PM  
Blogger tallulah said...

What beautiful photos of the town on Christmas Eve. And who could top the rapelling Santa with a gift for every child?
Hope yours was merry.

5:21 AM  

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