20 Ways to Make Your Holiday Season More Italian

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If you love this time of year and all things Italy, but you’re having trouble finding time to study for Italian during the holidays, this article is for you!

Sometimes at this time of year as family, friend and travel obligations distract us, it’s easy to let our commitment to studying fall to the side.

However, with the following ideas, you can incorporate Italian into everything you normally do this season.

Buon divertimento!

1.) Bake Italian Christmas cookies

Instead of baking traditional Christmas cookies, why not make Italian cookies using an Italian recipe? My favorite Italian Christmas cookies are i ricciarelli. A great recipe can be found here.

*Hint: you can also switch the recipe to English on the same page!

2.) Send Italian holiday cards

We have super cute ones (for free) to download right HERE.

3.) Bake or buy, then eat, panettone for desert

Don’t know what that is? Learn about it here.

4.) Learn an Italian holiday song.

My favorite from my childhood is La Befana.

Here’s a fun version.

Some other songs can be found here.

5.) Put up a nativity scene or presepio.

These are all over Italy during the holidays!

Read more about them (and the key vocab) here.

6.) Enjoy the feast of the seven fishes, by making seven courses out of seafood, on Christmas Eve.

*Note: The feast of seven fishes is more of an American holiday, but fish is often traditionally served on Christmas Eve, just not always in 7 courses.

7.) Write your yearly update or newsletter for friends and family.

But this year, write it in Italian and English!

8.) Look at pictures of Italy at Christmas time.

They do it right when it comes to decorations! Be sure to read the captions.

9.) Try making a pasta and sauce recipe from scratch.

Here is a traditional holiday recipe, cannelloni di ricotta e spinaci. It includes making the pasta yourself.

10.) Have a taste off between panettone and pandoro.

They both come from Northern Italy and some people feel very passionate about which one is better.

Read more about them both here.

11.) Serve pasta in brodo or pasta in broth.

Pasta in brodo is a traditional way to kick off lunch on Christmas Day.

Here is a good recipe (in Italian!).

12.) Leave out stockings for La Befana on the night of Jan. 5.

Fill them with sweet treats for the morning of the 6th or full of carbone or coal if someone was bad.

13.) Along with the stockings leave out an orange and a glass of wine for the kindly witch, Befana.

Read more about La Befana here.

14.) Learn the words for all your usual Christmas rituals, in Italian.

For example, learn to say, presents, pass the wine, etc!

15.) Have a white elephant party.

But with the requirement that all the gifts be Italian-themed.

16.) Make vin brule, or mulled wine.

It is super popular during the holiday season in Italy and is often enjoyed outside enjoying the Christmas markets or decorations.

17.) Get in touch with the Italian cultural center, language school or consulate near you.

Ask them about what kind of Christmas events they are hosting.

18.) Read about other holiday traditions, like Hanukkah in Italy.

Here is one article and here’s another.

19.) Try a traditional Christmas recipe for your main course Christmas Day meal.

Instead of the usual, or as a fun side, eat some Italian. One of my favorites that we eat every year is lasagne verdi con ragu alla bolognese – with the green pasta and red sauce it is the ultimate holiday dish!

20.) Use Italian holiday words all season instead of the traditional English ones.

For example, Santa Claus becomes Babbo Natale, Christmas becomes Natale, Buon Natale instead of Merry Christmas, etc. It’s a great way to practice your pronunciation too!

What about you? Do you incorporate Italy into the holiday season? What are your favorite Italian Christmas traditions?

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