Could you resist buying an Elvis ornament from Las Vegas, Nevada?

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Celebrating wildlife from Northern Ontario, Canada with a decoration from Frankenmuth, Michigan, USA.

How Do You Celebrate Christmas?

What holiday traditions best reflect yours?

A). We had a seafood dinner on Christmas Eve. ___
B). We donated food and gifts to a community shelter. ___
C). A rich relative gave the women in our family glass ornaments from Venice, Italy. ___
D). My mother made the children a special drink of warm milk mixed with coffee and crumbled cookie pieces. ___

The Inheritance examines the social structure that governed Calabria, southern Italy during the early 1900’s. Anna and Santo Marino and their sons, Caesare, Benito and Lorenzo are rich landowners of the Villa San Michelle Estate. Caterina and her father, Edoardo, are peasants who work for them and an examination of their respective Christmas traditions helps illustrate class differences.

What family did you choose?

Traditions A & C refer to the Marino family. Traditions B & D refer to Caterina and Edoardo. The references are from Chapter Nine.

Did you think it ironic that the peasants helped the less fortunate rather than the upper class?
Have your holiday traditions changed over time?
Do any of these sentiments mirror yours?

a). My husband and I decorated our first house with holly but we don’t do this anymore and I miss it. ___
b). My husband gave me honey our first Christmas to symbolize our sweet future. I liked it better than all the fancy gifts he buys me now. ___
c). Christmas has become too complicated. I wish it could be simple like in the past. ___
d). Why can’t Christmas just be with our family? ____

These sentiments refer to a Christmas scene at the Villa San Michelle in Chapter Nine and represent Anna’s yearning for the early years of her marriage to Santo. Her husband doesn’t share her misgivings, however, and the family dynamics hint at a brewing conflict.

Santa Ornament with several animals

Nature’s friends pose with Santa on this decoration I found in Juneau, Alaska.

Have you ever wanted two families?

Lorenzo is the youngest Marino son and, along with his mother, he participates in his family’s lavish Christmas celebrations as well as Caterina and Edoardo’s simpler traditions. Unlike his mother, however, Lorenzo enjoys both equally and secretly wishes that he could belong to both families. His father’s dictates and the current class structure would forbid a dual allegiance and the scene foreshadows looming conflict should Lorenzo decide to challenge family dynamics and social norms.

Did the witch give you coal or candy at Christmas?

The Italian Christmas season is traditionally celebrated from Christmas Eve on December 24th to January 6th, The Feast of the Epiphany and La Befana plays a key role in the cultural folklore.
According to legend, La Befana is a witch who flies from house to house on her broomstick the evening of January 5th giving good children toys and candy and bad children lumps of coal. A reference to La Befana in Chapter Nine of The Inheritance, therefore, helps create an authentic Christmas scene in the novel.

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What are your family’s holiday traditions? I’d welcome your comments.

I collect Christmas decorations from my travels and hope you enjoy these photographs.

Koala bear ornament

A Koala from Australia like those found at the Cairns Tropical Zoo.

Zebra Ornament

This Zebra ornament from Kenya, East Africa is handmade out of teak wood.

Santa with Eiffel tower

Santa holding The Eiffel Tower was the perfect souvenir from Paris, France for my Christmas tree.