Sunday, December 26, 2021

Counting Christmas

Annamaria on the Second Day of Christmas

We all know, I guess, the carol of The 12 Days of Christmas. There seems to be some confusion about counting those days. I count them starting from the day after Christmas (Boxing Day to you, Brits) and ending with the 6th of January, the Feast of the Epiphany, which commemorates the visit of the Magi.  That was always considered the end of the Christmas season for me as a child, since it is the day when Italians traditionally exchanged gifts by following the example of the three kings who brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the child in the manger.

Murrh, by the way, is a resin extracted from several varieties of small Commiphora trees.  Here are pictures of what the trees and the resin look like. At least in this photo, the resin seems to resemble chocolate chip cookies.  Myrrh is lauded in the Hebrew Bible for its medicinal properties and was also used in making perfume and incense.  

The twelfth day will occur, as always on 6 January, and after last year, there's more than one thing to say about that day on the calendar.  I imagine that a few of us here on in MIE will have comments on January 6 as the day rolls around.

What is making Christmas special for me this year is my relationship with these three women – three generations of precious friends.


On arrival a week ago, I went directly from the airport to meet them for lunch in one of the swankiest places in town.  Its decor for the holidays was proof that, under some circumstances, nothing can impress like excess. 

Here are my own paltry efforts.

We had Christmas Eve dinner at my place, and afterwards we braved the rainy weather to have a look at this year's light displays that Florence has featured for the past several years. It is almost impossible to do them justice with photographs, but this year it was even more challenging to photograph because of the wet stuff falling from the sky. But here is a little taste.

The theme this year in the piazza Museo Galileo is a celebration of the 500th anniversary of Dante. 



The display along the Arno was the most impressive.

This season, this year is another in a long string of challenges.  Here is what I wish for for all of us.


  1. Yikes. Those Commiphora trees look like what the Crown of Thorns must have been made from. Merry 12 Days, AmA!

  2. The commiphora trees remind me of sloe here, which has equally nasty thorns, but rather nice berries that go very well with gin!

    What a wonderful display in Firenze. Hope you're have a fabulous sojourn, and hope to see you in 2022.

  3. What a beautiful way to start off your holidays in the town your heart considers home...together with dear friends in a place of beauty. Happy Holidays, Sis. ENJOY.