Although Christmas is, perhaps, the Western festivity that best captures both mind and pockets of people all around the world, local traditions have proudly spread everywhere, proving that cultural assimilation is a very complex phenomenon indeed. The times they are a-changin, sings Bod Dylan, and traditions are evolvingalong with them. But without disappearing completely …
For example, here in the South of Italy we have many traditions related to Christmas and Christmas holiday in general. We decorate our houses with the presepe, we play tombola and other games with relatives and friends, and we eat as much mostaccioli and roccocò as we can. The whole Christmas period is mostly dedicated to staying in with the family, visiting relatives or going out to the movies or to take a walk and see Christmas illuminations. There’s an old saying that goes like: “Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi” (Christmas with your family, Easter with whoever you want): OK, this looks amazing if you live on your own and go back to your parents’ house just for Christmas holiday. But if you live with them the whole year, Christmas starts eerily looking a little bit like a nightmare you can’t escape.
Christmas with your family
Italian young adults who still live with their parents have been unjustly put in a catch-all category named bamboccioni (people from 20 to 30 or even more who still live with their parents). I know things are different in other countries as I’ve lived in many places and moved out when I was 19. However, for many different reasons I now find myself still living with my parents. But what does it have to do with Christmas?
Let me state that no, I don’t want to steal your Christmas. Ideally, I like spending 48h(+) straight with my family eating myself to death, watching the same old reassuring movies every year. I do love this, ideally. Truth is that when you’re still living with your parents you just can’t cope with all these Christmas and New Year galore. They’re just too many holiday in a row maybe? I don’t know. The thing I know is that I can spend from a minimun to ONE to a maximum of THREE of these days of
joy together with my family. Trespassing this limit means snapping suddenly like a crazy person or getting an eating disorder from compulsive streess eating.
They need me, I must save them from their loneliness.
Before going on, let me give a little background here. I’m talking from experience when I say that I can put up with just a limited period of Christmassy period. I have also spent Christmas holiday away from home and I must confess that it was kind of depressing. On the other hand, when I was living in London I decided to come back home for Christmas Day and go back before New Year’s Eve. Best decision ever. I got to live all this movie-like atmosphere, you know, reuniting with the people you love, feeling all the warmth and then I just went back to my normal life recharged and full of joy and gratitude. It was the right amount of time for people to be together and sincerely enjoy each other. But when you find yourself still living with your family for various reasons, Christmas is a real trap.
So I don’t mean to be a giant killjoy here but I think we all have to sit down and talk about the forthcoming holiday. This post is a sort of intervention for all the so-called bamboccioni out there against Christmas overdose. Because we need to face reality and stop pretending we know Jingle Bells lyrics by heart and that we’re lovin’ it. We must unite and take over.
You got 1 unread intervention: it’s time for some REALITY vs EXPECTATIONS revelation.
For this reason, I have thought of 5 of the most annoying things about Christmas holiday when you’re stuck with your family 24/7 .
1. Everything is closed (and if it isn’t, it’s not worth going)
You might rightly say “why don’t you just go out?”. Well, if you did you’ve obviously never spent Christmas day in Italy. Even though now the situation is really changing, many shops and facilities go (justly) on holiday during this period. This means that almost everything is closed or, if it isn’t, that the service is shitty as the place is overcrowded and you can see from the faces of the people working there that they’d rather die than serve you your Spritz.
Nobody loves Jesus these days.
2. Oh, the family drama.
Being gathered with your whole family just seems to be the breeding ground for cutting remarks, throwing shade and the resurrection of old grudges. Maybe I’m exaggerating, maybe it’s the many hours spent together, maybe it’s just the high level of sugar in the blood. I don’t know, but if there’s one thing that Hollywood-produced Christmas movies have realistically depicted is the Christmas family drama.
Just chillax and shut your mouth with more pandoro.
3. The presents.
You already feel bad for being 26 and still living under the same roof of your parents. You don’t want and don’t really need anything. And yet, the usual unwearable jumper or tight-fitting dress is in for you. Now I don’t want to sound an ungrateful little bastard, but, honestly, I will never understand how people that have given me life just suck at giving me presents.
“I expected nothing and I’m still let down”
4. The movies, the songs, the everything.
♪ IIIII dooon’t want a looot for Christmaaaas…. There is just one thing I neeed…♪… Aaaall I want for Christmas is….youuuuuuu ♪. I love this song, I really do. But how many times a day do I have to listen to it? Please, write some new songs or defrost some more Micheal Bublé albums. We create pop idols by the minute, why can’t we create a new Christmas song? Also, here in Italy Christmas period’s TV show schedule is more like a ritual. We need our Disney movies like Mary Poppins and Beauty and The Beast and some classics like Trading places and rom-com like Love Actually. Moreover, we have our cinepanettoni, light-hearted and farcical Italian comedies released in mid-late December right on time for Christmas day. But do we have to produce all these cheap quality stuff or put on repeat the same old songs and movies? From the perspective of someone who doesn’t take part in all this Christmas frenzy, it seems that we’re really forced to fit into this consumerism-oriented thing no matter what. You have no choice: either you stay home away from the madding crowd or you join the group while deeply inspiring and exhaling to release the stress.
We must save the Magic of Christmas? Not today.
5. NEW YEAR’S EVE.
There are three days in the Italian calendar that command you to have fun. Not just simple fun but SUPER FUN like the rest of your life will depend on how much fun you’ll have on these days. One is August 15th, another is Easter Monday and the last is New Year’s Eve. “What are your plans for New Year’s Eve?” should be the most irksome question ever. Nobody really answers the question. It seems like there’s a New World Order of NYE people that need to keep it secret. Where do they go? What do they do? Nobody knows. When I’m home, I stay in, feeling miserable while watching Carlo Conti’s countdown as I see my youth passing by and saying goodbye.
In The Matrix people were not programmed for planning New Year’s Eve.
I hope you took all this article with irony& a pick of salt! Now we want to hear about you! What is that most annoys you about Christmas? Tell us in the comment section!