A walk down (A Christmassy) memory lane
When I started making my post for Christmas, I realised what a shame it was that I don’t have more photos or posts from previous years since this blog is still so new. So I decided to go back and dig out what I could going back as far back as I could manage!!
I actually found way more stuff than I could possibly post here, but I decided to pick out a few of my favourite memories from over the years.
I managed to find some pictures of one of our last Christmases in South Africa. It’s so strange now, after 8 years of snowy or at least freezing Christmases, to see us in the pool or having a braai around Christmas time. Our family tradition has always been to make gnocchi together on Christmas Eve, a tradition my Nonno started with my dad when they were kids and that our family has continued. We’ve done it ever since I was a kid and it’s so much fun. I found these pictures of us rolling out the gnocchi in 2006
This picture of my sisters is from the same day, Christmas Eve 2006. This year was a particularly special one as it was our last in our beautiful home before we started to get ready to move to Italy.
Christmas became even more of a big deal for us when we moved from South Africa to Italy for a few reasons. Firstly, was the weather. There is something about walking in the city centre in Milan, when it’s absolutely frozen, with your gloves, hats, and scarves, looking at the lights with the smell of roasting chestnuts floating through the streets. It’s absolutely magical. In Milan, they’d officially turn the Christmas lights on on the 8th of December and my mom would usually take us in to go and see them. It was absolutely incredible to be there when it happened!
And the snow.. The first few years it snowed heavily in Milan in December and it was amazing. Everyone else would be inside trying to warm up and we’d be in the garden making snowmen or going for walks.
The picture below (clearly) isn’t real snow, but one day I came home from work and my sisters had covered the ceiling of my room in paper snowflakes hanging from string. It was absolutely beautiful and such a special Christmas memory!
Secondly, friends and family. Being away from so many loved ones at Christmas always made us appreciate our family time together so much. Also, in the first few years so many special friends came to visit us which made it even more of a time to appreciate!
The picture below is from mine and Marco’s first Christmas together. We weren’t married yet and it was really special to be together on Christmas Eve. Also, if you look very carefully, there’s a brand new ring on my left ring finger. He had given me my engagement ring the day before even though we’d been engaged for a while..
And then, of course, our first Christmas as newlyweds. I have a super embarrassing picture of Marco wearing Christmas pyjamas, but I decided to spare him the humiliation! Our first Christmas together was really special, even if our house was absolutely freezing and we were completely broke. I think I made cinnamon buns for breakfast and we had a really relaxed, laid back Christmas.
And then there is Berlin. Berlin is absolutely indescribable at Christmas time. I don’t actually have too many photos from our first year there because I was working incredibly hard right up until the 24th, we flew into Milan after I finished work, had dinner and Christmas day with family and then flew back and both went straight back to work.
Things that year were really difficult and we were living in a subletted apartment waiting to move into our apartment on the 1st of January. We went one evening to buy a Christmas tree and we got home and I opened it up to set it up and realised it was tiny, (about 30cm if I’m not mistaken) and I burst into tears. It had been such a hard year and even though it was something so small it was so upsetting! So Marco and I went down to the florist and bought a tree, our first real tree and dragged it up 3 flights of stairs. It was so beautiful though, even though it was also really small, and it meant a lot to me because of the year we’d had up until that point.
The next few photos are from last year in Berlin. After the previous year, Marco and I promised each other that we’d take time off to go to the Christmas markets and to spend loads of time together. We knew that our time in Berlin was coming to an end and so we wanted to make the most. We tried to go to as many of the Christmas markets as we could manage, totally overdid the gluhwein and waffles and were just overall really happy.
This was one of our favourite markets in Prenzlauerberg..
And these are from our Christmas morning.. Marco got me that super cute alice band (which I fully intend to wear this year too!) and I stole his jumper so we were basically matching! Marco, when we met wasn’t really into Christmas at all.. I think it’s fair to say he has been converted!!
I must say, looking through all our Christmas photos and the photos from when I was a kid I realise how incredibly fortunate I am to have so many beautiful memories to look back on. This time of the year isn’t happy for everybody and I think that it’s an extra reason to be extra grateful for the people in my life that I love and that love me. It can be easy to get caught up in the details and the gifts and the things to do, but the most important thing really is spending time with the people who matter and remembering to be thankful for them and for everything we do have.