Italy-side Holiday Fun List

Taking inspiration from Laura Vanderkam’s seasonal fun lists and also from my own embryonic “lists of fun things to do during X time” from… basically as soon as I knew how to write (my mother likes to tease me about a strictly timed list of fun things to do on a Snow Day from elementary school that I militantly attempted to enforce on her and my brother; it resulted in a meltdown on my part because they failed to adhere to my – admittedly ambitious – schedule), here I am with my list of fun things I’d like to do during holiday season, part 1 (part 2 will be back at my parents’ house in the US).

  1. Enjoy Christmas market weekend with dear old friends – this is a fun tradition that has developed around my best friend’s birthday: the past few years (except 2020, for obvious reasons) we have gone to the Trentino region (near the Austrian border) for the weekend to celebrate her end of November birthday. This almost always includes visits to traditional local Christmas markets, and sort of serves to kick off the Christmas season. This year’s plan includes a cozy apartment we are renting for the night together in a place with a mini-spa facility. Win.
  2. Procure and decorate a Christmas tree for our apartment – I am not sure the boyfriend feels as strongly as I do about Christmas trees (actually, I’m almost certain he doesn’t) but I’ve decided that I personally want our little apartment to have a real tree for it’s first Christmas.
  3. Enjoy the Christmas lights in Parma, where I work.
  4. Enjoy the Christmas lights in Reggio, where I used to live.
  5. Enjoy the Christmas lights of Bologna, just because it’s sort of nearby and I like them. Bonus, I could meet a new colleague in person after months of only knowing each other via MS Teams!
  6. Red Cross Christmas party – for various reasons, these have always been kind of awkward and I’m looking forward to attending one where I am officially and comfortably With the boyfriend and have an established friend group within the Red Cross.
  7. Christmas lunch with the boyfriend’s family – we have started doing an early Christmas lunch before I leave for the US and it’s become a fun tradition.
  8. Friend Christmas – a tradition we started way back in 2010, I think. The English teacher bunch of friends (now with various Italian partners and, in one case, the first baby of the group!) gathers for a Christmas lunch and gift exchange.
  9. Related to the above, enjoy making Christmas gift bags – there’s a “homemade or under 5 euro” cap to gifts for friend Christmas, and I love assembling these. They always include homemade Christmas cookies, and this year I’m also planning on Christmas-themed tea lights (thank you Ikea) and a pair of Christmas socks for everyone.
  10. Also related to the above, baking Christmas cookies with the boyfriend!
  11. Sort of related to the above, Christmas shopping with the boyfriend!
  12. Spend cozy times snuggling on the couch and admiring our lovely (I’m assuming) Christmas tree and decorations.

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