If not now, when?

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

20 December 2006

Oh, the horror of it all...

Italy has a notably less-commercial approach to Christmas than the US. Of course, there are sales and promotions and all that, but they don't start at Halloween ... (rather, after the Immacolata). All the towns seem to be decked out in holiday finery (pics of my darling, lit up town square coming when the sun comes out) ... but generally, I would say things are more tasteful and traditional here: Live trees. White lights. Simple mistletoe and holly bunches. The houses are all a bit ... spartan. With the cost of electricity, it's mostly a random string of lights or two to indicate festivity but frugality (noone would want to appear to be 'out of step' with their neighbors!) My own house has one very sweet string of white lights, swagged decoratively across the front porch. Generally, a very old-fashioned holiday feel, by comparison to the loud displays I have seen in American yards and stores.

And then, driving into Siena last week for lunch, I saw it:

A GARGANTUAN INFLATABLE SANTA, opening his sack, on a rooftop. And it was clearly an Italian invention; as his sack had "Buone Feste" written on it.

My eyes are burning.

It was, to be fair, sitting atop a hotel catering to tourists. But STILL. Agony.


Blogger tallulah said...

I am so sorry you had to witness that. Unfortunately, I have to witness it daily...everywhere in people's yards and on their roofs Way Down In Mayberry.

4:15 PM  
Blogger sognatrice said...

I, too, offer my apologies. Isn't it lovely to just see subtle lights and reminders of the season? Maybe you could take a big ole' American pin to that Santa ;)

4:32 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

When I think of Christmas in Italy, I think of two things.

First, the simple shooting star. A star of usually white lights, with a simple swath of white light outlined behind it, shooting over a door, piazza, light post, whatever. They seem to just put them everywhere. I love them, elegant, simple, and ohh, so PC. I mean, think about it - no matter what religious holiday you celebrate this time of the year, a shooting star is sure to get your fancy. Of course, the irony of Italy, the center of all things Catholic, having more PC decorations than the melting pot of the US is not lost on me.

I don't understand the second, and how it got so ingrained in the Italian decorator's mind. A pudgy, stuffed behind of a Santa, crawling up a ladder made of rope lights. EVERYWHERE I look I see these odd little decorations, small, big, on roofs, on bookcases. I guess it has a kitsch feel, but I really can't get into it. They don't even really try to make him look like a jolly old guy. Just some hastily stuffed guy on a lighted ladder. Strange.

6:49 PM  
Blogger ElleStarr said...

HA! Hahahahahahah! That's what you get for mocking me about the porch people!!!!!!

6:28 PM  

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