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Themes:     ‘Casa’ & LaPerla (85)  
Tags:    Christmas     Thoughts
Manuel Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Christmas with loved ones

For those who work in hotels, and in other jobs away from home, the saying of Christmas with the family ...is not very comforting. Christmas can be one of the most difficult moments of the working season.
Christmas with loved ones
"It is during the Christmas period that distance from loved ones and home hits – but do not worry too much for it does not last long!"
You can easily feel nostalgic when away from home, and ones mood is not helped by the fact that there is an air of festivity everywhere. Here at La Perla the atmosphere is fine in that we all do our best to create pleasant times and stick together as a team, and it is something we do with the best intentions and in the right spirit. However, in truth, it is 2001 since I last passed Christmas at home in Ortisei. I do not have children, and this perhaps makes things easier, and also it should be said that my home is not too far away. For colleagues who are hundreds of kilometres away from wives and children the situation is different and surely nostalgia weighs on them more than normal at this time of year. I remember when I was a child that Christmas Eve was the most important part of the festive period. It was only on the 24th that we prepared the tree and that magic atmosphere of waiting for what was soon ahead was created. It was not like present times when the Christmas jingles start in early November. Everthing is too commercial nowadays, all has to do with consumerism. There is little of good taste and sensitivity in the publicity posters, in the TV adverts, or in the pretend Father Christmases dressed up as same style clowns and parading through the streets or dominating our television screens. Back at home in those days all we prepared was a crown of thorns bearing 4 advent candles. Then on each of the four Sundays before Christmas Eve we lit one of the candles. Yes, Christmas Eve was very special indeed. We prepared the tree, prepared the nativity scene near it, the nativity scene for we Gardenese , a population of wood sculptors as we are, is very important. The famous dried fruit zelten cake was always on show as Christmas would not be the same without it. Dinner was simple, light, convivial and when finished my father would get his guitar and began, with we joining in, to sing the classic Christmas songs. At a certain point in proceedings we kids went to our rooms and only returned back out when a little bell rang. It signalled that the presents were ready and that it was time to open them. Just a few simple gifts but very special they always were. Then, just before midnight, we would go out into the street, dressed of course in our new clothes and we would go to Mass. When I was a good bit older I would go to the pub with my friends, while the old folk would go to church. It was a special evening indeed. On the Sunday of the holiday we would usually go to visit relatives or they would visit us, maybe an exchange of gifts but nothing too important and everone went about the day in a relaxed manner. And of course ther was the 6th January when for us the celebration was more about the 3 Wise Men thean Epiphany itself. A few days beforehand the youngsters would pass by and chalk up the relevant in chalk and then return on the 6th to receive their goldreward! At the top of the doorframe would br written in chalk the first 2 numbers of the year and the letters C+M+B (Calspar, Melchior, Balthasar) followed by the last numbers of the year in question. And of course it was always on the 6th that the tree was taken down and the decorations put away for another year. At La Perla we do things in our own style. A special part of the celebrations is that we invite along a choir and on the 23rd we as staff join them and sing altogether, and enjoy a gkass of wine and piece of panettone. The day after the same choir performs for the guests and Christmas eve is well and truly under way. The guests enjoy the occasion and the special atmosphere, united as they are with their families, and especially so if as happens it is snowing outside! We work best as a staff if we concentrate on the job in hand and do not think too much about the strange feeling of absence which pricks our hearts. We feel a bit like sailors at sea, even if we are in the mountains, longing to return home – but obviously intending to return back to our work adventure once again!

Manuel Dellago
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