Cappelletti – literally ‘little hats’ – the Christmas day speciality in Romagna.

These days, more than anything else, the festive period makes me nostalgic for Christmases past. Most of these are times growing up in the English Midlands. Although my Mom & Dad weren’t well off they always made this time of year feel special.

The twelve things I remember most are:

    1. Getting a canary yellow shirt as a gift and my Dad saying “All the girls will be after you now”.
    2. Receiving a portable cassette tape machine and recording a family rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’. The tape must have looped because on playback  “….one horse open sleigh” was repeated at the end. This must have been how sampling was invented!
    3. Finding where my presents were hidden in my parent’s bedroom and having to feign surprise on Christmas day.
    4. Feeling grown up (I must have been about 12) by going to the pub with my Dad and Grandad. I drank shandy.
    5. Dad offering me a cigar. I refused.
    6. Mom getting hot and bothered while preparing Christmas lunch.
    7. Opening a box of gifts with my brother before breakfast, then distributing presents to the ‘grown-ups’ later in the morning.
    8. Watching the Morecambe & Wise Christmas Special on TV with all the family.
    9. Christmas in England soon after my first marriage collapsed – feeling I’d rather be on my own than with my family.
    10. My first Christmas day lunch in Italy – eating cappelletti, vegetables, not roast and panettone – feeling as stuffed as a turkey.
    11. My daughter getting baptised on boxing day in Italy 1995 – an event organised to please the relatives rather than to praise the Lord.
    12. A general feeling of excitement as a kid I no longer feel.