December 25th 2014 - Montalcino, Italy - Day 130

Christmas day in Italy was a largely fantastic.  I say largely because the holidays certainly made all of us a little more homesick than normal.  We did a few things to offset the homesickness, like trying to stick to our traditions and we even bought a Christmas tree, but the holidays are usually a time for family and friends and being far away certainly made this Christmas different.  we all agreed to try to make it special so we could look back on our holiday in Italy with fond memories.

The day started with hot chocolate and monkey bread for the kids and hot coffee for the adults.  

We then ran up and started a fire and opened our "stockings".  In this case these were are real stockings - or socks as we call them.  

We all got great stocking stuffers and then we agreed to wait on the actual gifts until after breakfast.  

We  decided about two weeks before to use a secret santa system since we could not do many gifts (no room in the backpacks), but the secret part only lasted a couple of days.  Because we used secrect santa, each of us only had one or two gifts and we wanted to drag the day out a bit.

After a wonderful breakfast we scurried back upstairs to open the gifts.  The idea that we only got one or two gifts and each person had a firm budget actually made the buying and giving much more meaningful and enjoyable.  We all tried really hard and the gifts were fantastic.  


After the gifts we decided it was movie time so we cranked up Fred Claus, and had a good laugh.  

We lounged around for the rest of the afternoon and then in the evening went out to try to find the Panatone Games.  Apparently this involves throwing a cake at a table to see who can get the cake closest to the edge.  Unfortunately we could not find the games, but we did find an amazing sunset and a lovely town we were lucky enough to spend the holiday in.  

When we got home we had our own Panatone cake, which was delicious, and then played some charades before bed.  My personal opinion is this will be a christmas we will always remember.