“We do not remember days, we remember moments.” Cesare Pavese, Italian poet and novelist.
It was the magi, the Three Wise Men, who started the gift-giving custom of Christmas, with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Christ Child.
In Italy, Italians do things a bit differently than we do here in the states. There is less commercialism for one thing and the Christmas celebration is longer. It begins on Christmas Eve and runs through Epiphany (the twelve days of Christmas).
Gifts are exchanged on Epiphany, January 6th, the day on which the Wise Men brought their gifts to baby Jesus (In the dioceses of the United States, this feast has been moved to the Sunday between January 2 and January 8).
But to me, the sweetest custom is that instead of writing letters to Santa asking for gifts, the children write a letter to their parents, saying how much they love them. The letter is placed under their father’s plate and on Christmas Eve, after dinner with the family and all are gathered at the table, the letter is read. What a beautiful moment … a perfect gift!
This holiday season, may you have the gift of being fully present in the moment!