I am back from an unbelievably beautiful holiday in Italy where my mom, my brother and I spent Christmas and New Year’s with my father’s family in Ascoli Piceno, Le Marche.

We had such a beautiful time, filled with so much laughter and talk and of course … food! So. Much. Food.

Being away from the usual holiday hustle and bustle of a big city reminded me that Christmas is not about buying stuff. Most of our time was spent either cooking or baking or gathered around the table sharing a glass of wine. I feel so blessed. I think my favourite moments, though, were the nights in the city where friends greeted each other with Auguri and everyone had a moment to stop and wish you well.

I want to say grazie to my aunts, uncles, cousins and all my friends who made this such a special time for myself, my mother and my brother.

To all of you, happy New Year! Buon’anno! All the best in 2012!

We ate ceci on Christmas Eve.

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We played with some cute elves.

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We ate nocciata.

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We cooked over the fire.

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We ate timballo.

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We ate olive ascolane and cremini.

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We ate pasta. A lot of pasta.

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We ate prosciutto.

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We went to the Cattedrale di Sant’Emidio.

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We looked at the lights.

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We thought about family.

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We ate fresh sausage.

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We breathed the country air.

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We looked at the mountains …

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… and looked at them some more.

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We opened doors.

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We tried galantina.

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We played cards.

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We used the oven a lot.

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We opened our eyes.

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We went to town.

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We took deep breaths.

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We said Auguri!

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Auguri to all of you!

Ciao!