Christmas in Sicily with Santa’s Smallest Elf

SicilianHousewife - nativity scene of panettone and chocolate

We celebrated Christmas this year with roughly forty people. I could not count accurately as they were Sicilian, therefore unable to keep still.

SicilianHousewife - A large Sicilian Family at Christmas

There were four different pasta courses. One was spaghetti with olive oil, lemon zest and cheese, served in a bowl carved out of a whole Parmesan cheese.

SicilianHousewife - spaghetti in a bowl carved of parmesan cheese

Another pasta course was with squid, in squid ink sauce. This pasta is bucatini, which are like drinking straws so the sauce goes all up the inside.

SicilianHousewife - pasta with squid ink sauce

My brother in law bought rather a lot of fish, so much in fact that he could set up his own fishmonger’s stall on the balcony.

SicilianHosewife - fishmonger stall with swordfish

We roasted the whole swordfish and there were no leftovers. I wouldn’t have minded a swordfish sandwich on Boxing Day.

SicilianHousewife - swordfish

This is my sister-in-law’s father-in-law, in a red pinny, taking a break with my sister-in-law’s husband’s second cousin’s uncle-in-law. I think that’s who he is, or else maybe Danny De Vito sneaked in?

SicilianHousewife - to elderly sicilian men in a pinny

There were rather a lot of people. This is one end of the table. I could not get everybody into one photo.SicilianHousewife - lots of italian people having dinner

There were about twelve different desert courses. I lost count as my eyes were bulging. I liked this tree made of biscuits… though just for looking at.

SicilianHousewife - biscuit christmas tree

After all the eating, it was time for Father Christmas to bring the presents.

Once my father-in-law was all dressed up, The Godmother said:
“He doesn’t look like Santa, he looks like one of the elves in disguise!”

“Get ready children!” she called along the corridor. “Pixie Claus is coming!”

Sicilian Housewife - Sicilian Father Christmas

There was so many children we decided two Santas were needed. But …Crisis!
When we opened Second Santa’s costume, there was no beard! My sister in law made one out of cotton wool and sticky tape.

Sicilian Housewife - santa beard from cotton wool

He looked as if he had just been dischared from the surgical unit.

“Grandpa, did you get hurt coming down the chimney?”

Sicilian Housewife - Post-operative santa

We spent the night in the Verdura Resort Hotel. My son realised the entire family could easily fit into the vast bed, and decided that Four-Posters’R’Us!

Sicilian Housewife - four poster bed

I found a massage bed in the bathroom upon which you can order a massage via room service. I ordered Hubby to give me a massage, but he was fast asleep.

He was getting his strength up, so he could do it all over again on Boxing Day.

Sicilian Housewife - massage bed


26 Comments Add yours

  1. paddy203 says:

    The Verdura Resort Hotel is such a fabulous place, but so very expensive. I hope you tried the Spa.

    Buon Natale.


    1. I didn’t actually…too busy eating!
      Maybe next time 🙂


  2. Dianne Patrizzi says:

    Beautifully funny. “This is my sister-in-law’s father-in-law, in a red pinny, taking a break with my sister-in-law’s husband’s second cousin’s uncle-in-law.”

    Buon Natale! Pasta in a parmesan bowl is a fab idea.


    1. Wonderful, isn’t it? My brother-in-law (simple connection there!!!!) is full of these imaginative ideas.


  3. ninamishkin says:

    Looks like a wonderful (and strenuous) time was had by all! When does the dieting start? 🙂


    1. Well, we’ll be doing it all over again for new year, then there will be all the choccies for Valentine’s day, and they have so many wonderful things in Sicily for Easter… maybe I should start dieting in early summer? Or else just buy a bigger swimming costume… 😉


      1. ninamishkin says:

        Haha. Enjoy! 🙂 🙂 🙂


  4. I am second generation half Sicilian and half Roman. My parents moved from New York to Miami when I was just five years old and I missed out on the festivities of extended family and the richness and elegance of Italian eating with the food displayed at your gathering although mother and father did present what they could within the home isolated from other Italians. Oh how so very much I wish I could have been there with your family.


    1. What a lovely comment!
      Though you know, what makes the Italian way of gathering lots of people for lavish and wonderful eating so magical for me is the way they so happily welcome friends, acquaintances and even outsiders into their midst. As a tourist in Italy who had just made a new friendship, I have many times ended up at a major family dinner, welcomed and plied with food and wine.
      So maybe you could be really, truly Italian about it, and invite a load of friends to dine with you for New Year, or Easter, or the next excuse you get for a magnificent banquet?
      Anyway, tanti auguri e buon anno! 🙂


      1. beba says:

        My barely-American-born mother, daughter of Sicilian parents, threw the big family parties for years until my grandmother died and family slowly moved away. But she later (soon after my german-ancestry dad’s death) resumed the tradition. She shopped, cooked (Italian, of course!) on her weekends off and froze the food over weeks in prep for a huge, food-filled, open house every Christmas Eve for her family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. The crowd grew each year over the 15 or so years, and the gathering was GREATLY missed when she retired at age 65 and moved from her house to a suburban retirement apartment. She missed it too!

        I might try this next year, but as I live in a very ‘buttoned-up’ area it won’t likely be so merry.


  5. lee3731 says:

    Love your blog. My book, The Sisters: Ten Days in Sicily is available at and the link is posted on my Facebook page. (Leona Lee). You can actually look inside and read the first chapter, RSVP Sicily.



    1. Thanks for posting. I’ll go and have a look!


  6. beba says:

    Happy Christmas and New Year! This post made me nostalgic for the big (mostly Sicilian) family gatherings of my Chicago childhood. And for the food!


  7. beba says:

    Oh – And one of the Italian restaurants near me uses a huge, hollowed-out Parmesan wheel to finish concocting Risotto to order at table-side. I guess the hot liquid gets flavored by the parmesan. They use this “bowl” over and over, of course. Kinda wonder how they clean it!


    1. I hope you had a great Christmas, even if there weren’t so many Sicilians around you!
      Our Parmesan bowl went melty inside, so you could stir the pasta and get more cheese on it. I suppose you could clean it by scraping out the inside…. though of course it would disappear completely after a few uses.
      I told my brother-in-law I think he should carve a nativity scene out of a Parmesan next year, and he has promised that he will!
      Auguri e buon anno con un grande abbraccio! 🙂 ❤


  8. frankieandgiuseppe says:

    What fantasy on display here! Love the citrus lollipops in the swordfish. Here in England everything was just swamped in gravy. Look forward to doing an Italian christmas one day.


  9. Lala says:

    Happy New Year, Veronica! I like your blog, though I do not understand every word due to your large word-stock! Fascinating. I wish my English was so excellent as yours. You write in such a funny way. Lots of health to you and to your big family in 2014.


    1. I am glad you enjoy the blog…. maybe it will help you learn a bit of new vocab?!! 🙂 I think you are very good to read in a foreign language. I have to admit I am terribly lazy about reading in Italian and other foreign languages. It does take more effort than reading your own language.
      Thank you for your good wishes, and I wish you and your family a very happy new year too!


  10. Pecora Nera says:

    Happy New Year to you from Mrs Sensible, Scooby Doo and me. We didn’t make it to Sicily this year 😦 So we joined in with all the northerners with their X mass Celebrations. Mrs Sensible saw the Nero di Seppia and exclamed “aww che buono”


    1. It certainly was buonoooooo!!!!!!
      A very happy new year to you all from me and all of Da Family.
      Sorry to hear you didn’t make it down here, though I bet your waistline is several inches smaller because of that! I am on a MAJOR diet now…!


  11. unwillingexpat says:

    There is nothing like a Christmas meal to truly express the Sicilian’s Baroque heart.
    You are lucky not to have any fussy eaters around, I’m surrounded by cheese haters so we can’t even put cheese in the darn lasagna!!! Since we are a little further away from the coast menus are usually ‘a base di terra’, rather than beautiful Mediterranean seafood. I often vow to become a vegetarian every year as excessive pork makes me terribly unwell! In fact I was in bed with a fever for a couple of days thanks to excessive food related consumption. Perhaps I can come to your place for Christmas next year!?!?!


    1. My sister and dad both get terribly ill from eating pork, even just a little bit. I think it might be an allergy or something.
      Sure you can join us. There will be so many people you could probably sneak the whole family in without anyone noticing! 😉
      Any special menu requests?
      Swordfish is already on the list, by the way!


      1. unwillingexpat says:

        There is way too much pork in my diet right now. My husband and his brothers have had a fruitful run in the ‘wild boar’ hunting season this year. Bad luck for the boar and for my health!
        I’d really like to meet Danny De Vito!
        Any form of seafood is fine for me anything but pork!!!


      2. Oh I LOOOOOVE wild boar! I’ll swap you a boar for a swordfish any day!


  12. yangszechoo says:

    Love it! Love it! Your posts always make me laugh so much – oh dear, “Pixie Claus”!


    1. We were all laughing so much at Pixie Claus we could hardly breathe, and my mother-in-law almost fell on the floor! I kep going back to look at that photo and laugh some more! 🙂


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