Decorate your Home For Christmas as they do in Italy
Decorate your home like they do in Italy. You need two things to make your home Christmassy in an Italian sort of way.
First you need a presepe (nativity scene). If you visit Italy at Christmas you will see presepe everywhere – family homes, churches, restaurants, well, like I said, they are everywhere. And they are busy. Unlike the manager scenes we have in the US which consist of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the three kings, a few sheep and maybe a shepherd, the Italian presepe are full of people. Not only do they have the main characters but they have village people, fishermen, wandering dogs, a baker, farmers etc. In other words it takes a village to populate an Italian presepe.
Second, you need a Befana and a good Befana is hard to find. As legend has it the Befana (an old crone) was too busy to stop what she was doing and help them when the three wisemen stopped at her house. Later she changed her mind and gathered up some gifts and set off in search of the Christ Child. To this day the Befana is still looking for the Christ Child and flies on her broom to every house with a child leaving gifts on Epiphany.
These days, you will see more greenery and lights appearing in Italian homes starting sometime in the beginning of December. But if you want traditional Italian holiday decorations you need a presepe and a Befana. Because Befana figures are so difficult to find, I place a book on a stand in the center of a table to announce that this house celebrates Italian Christmas traditions.