Friends, Christmas is coming up, and let me tell you one thing that I know for sure: Montreal Italians are ready. We've been buying presents and putting up our nativity scenes for weeks; we've been placing orders at our favourite bakeries and making i struffoli like it's nobody's business. But even though we're ready to look Christmas in the eyes and say, "Come at me, bro," that doesn't mean we're without our struggles. Like what, I hear you ask? Well, read on for Struggles Of A Montreal Italian At Christmas.
Which just actually might be the biggest Italian Christmas struggle yet, TBH. I don't know about you guys, but the amount of panettone in my house goes up by about 100% during the holidays - and honestly, I don't know what to do with it all. Sure, you could attempt to eat it all, but I don't think anyone's successfully eaten through their holiday supply of panettone yet. Unless it's of the Baci variety, of course.
2. The feeling of pure depression when all the Baci panettone sells out.
When you trudge from bakery to bakery, from Inter Marche to Inter Marche, and you come home without the best panettone in the world? Yeah. That stings.
3. The line up at United on the day before Christmas Eve.
Because we're not supposed to be eating meat on Christmas Eve, everyone piles into their favourite fish store to load up on seafood and other ocean delicacies. And by everyone, I mean legit, every single person in the neighbourhood. Good luck getting your hands on that last bag of calamari, guys.
4. Sneaking some prosciutto on Christmas Eve and feeling forever guilty.
Sometimes, you just can't help it.
5. Waiting until the last possible second to pick up your cannoli at the bakery.
Because your pastries have to be fresh AF - you don't want to do brutta figura, especially on Christmas - you make sure to pick up your order at the last possible second. Unfortunately, so does everyone else in the community. The result? You'll be running late, for sure, and you'll probably make the same mistake next year.
6. Visits upon visits upon visits.
Before you get to nonna's house, you have to stop by your mom's cousin's house and drop off a panettone. And then you have to go see your dad's zia and leave her a little Christmas pensiero, too - and while you're at it, you might want to pass by your nonna's friend's son's house, just to say Buon Natale.
7. Cooking enough food to immobilize a small country.
No matter what time you get to your nonna and nonno's house, they're still cooking. There could be a three-course meal already on the table; there could be all of two people at their house; none of it matters. They're cooking baccala, they're laying out homemade salami and sopressata, they're rolling out the dough for fresh cannelloni - it's a cooking marathon, and it won't stop until the desserts come out at 10 PM.
8. Eating enough food to immobilize a small country.
You're not going to let all that delicious food go to waste, are you? Of course not. Just make sure to pace yourself. Dessert looks like a mini version of an Italian wedding sweet table (so heaven, basically).
9. The thrill of the busta.
The second you see your zia coming towards you with a white envelope in hand, you know what's coming to you. It's money, friends, and it's glorious. Even though your nonna/nonno/zia/zio has been schiapping you some money in a Christmas card every year since you've been born, it doesn't make that moment any less magical. Thanks, Nonni and Zii.
10. Getting to spend time with your awesome family.
Which is not really a struggle - actually, it's more like the best part of Christmas. Italians are kind of known for having huge families, and when we get together for the holidays? Omg. People for days. You might even meet some people you never even knew you were related to.
It's all good, though, because Christmas is one of the few times when all of us get to reunite, catch up, and find our favourite cousins to get turnt with. PS - don't deny you're totally getting turnt off of your zio's wine.