Natale con i tuoi

[NB: I actually started writing this on January 1. I then got distracted.]

The Italians have a saying: “Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi.” A rough translation goes something like this: Christmas with your parents (or family), Easter with whomever you want.

As a good Italian, A has lived by this rule most of his life. Of the 37 years he’s been on this earth, he has spent 34 with his family. This last Christmas marked only the third year that he was not in Italy with the whole gang.

We wanted to spend our first Christmas as homeowners in our new house. We bought a tree (a first!). Heck, we even chopped it down ourselves. (Just in case you didn’t know, a Christmas tree FARM is one of those places where they give you a dull saw and expect you to haul your own tree. FYI. In the off chance you were confused or something.)

We bought a string of lights, some tinsel, and hung up two (count ‘em: TWO) ornaments. We had a lovely Christmas Eve dinner (menu: homemade lasagna [yes, including noodles] with mushrooms, roasted leg of lamb with tiny potatoes, and trifle for dessert) with my sister and her husband, and some dear friends. We went all out and bought a toy kitchen for P.

It was lovely.

And then on Christmas day, my sister and I hopped in the car for a last minute road trip down to Southern California to help my parents pack up their home in the final chapter (hopefully) of their long move to Northern California.

Christmas and Boxing Day were spent in a flurry of packing, sorting, throwing things away, and most importantly, reminiscing. My parents lived in their SoCal house for almost twenty years…longer than they’ve ever spent anywhere (see my previous post about moving.)

You tend to accumulate a lot of crap in that span of time, especially if you’re big fans of 99 cent stores (which my father is, unfortunately).

But I had to share some highlights of things long forgotten that my sister and I found among the piles and piles and piles of stuff.

  • My tattered Stefan Edberg T-shirt (below). I wore that thing and wore it and wore it until it became a rag. Stefan was my hero.

Stefan Edberg shirt ca. 1989.

  •  A winter ball dress my sister wore in high school. With matching blue suede shoes (totally not kidding). Anyway, she bought it from Macy’s and it still had the $88 price tag attached. Because she was totally planning on returning it after the dance, but apparently never got around to doing it. FYI, price tags have changed a lot in the last 20 years.
  • A home-made bag I made out of jeans for my fourth grade class from when we used to live in Texas. We had to bring in these little bags to attach to our desks, and fill them with stuff that didn’t fit into our desks (extra paper, pens, etc.). Anyway, the pair of jeans I used to make the bag was the last pair of jeans we bought in Iran (I was in third grade when we moved). Some key features of the jeans-bag:

Jeans bag.

Super-fancy decorations with markers, naming my fave bands and actors. A-Ha is on there not once, not twice, but THREE times. (I did have a thing for Swedes, apparently.)

The button.

Just the slogan you want on a button on the pants of a 10 year-old girl.

The tag.

And the best part: the tag. It’s super faded now, but here’s what it says: Blue Jeans Iran. 100% Cotton. Down with U.S.A.

No one saw the irony of putting that on a pair of blue jeans. It’s priceless.

“Natale con i tuoi” totally happened for the good Iranian girls this year. Next year, it might be the good Italian boy’s turn.

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