Cutting Corners

No, this isn’t a post about wimping out on Christmas obligations. I’m fully in the swing o’ the season and entering the homestretch, which will include a good amount of cooking in the next few days. More on that later though.

This is a post about an actual corner. The corner of my kitchen to be exact. It’s the only part of my house that is decorated for a variety of reasons–not the least of which is the reverse peer pressure of being in a place where most can’t be bothered to even string up a set of lights.

Bah humbuggers!

My grandmother used to go crazy with Christmas–red, green, gold, or white wherever you looked–including bathrooms. And I loved it. I’m getting all warm and fuzzy just thinking about walking in there after Christmas Eve mass, the warmth inside and only the lights of the tree lighting the way to the amazing smells in the kitchen.

Well, I don’t have much of a stash of Christmas decorations here in Italy, but give me time, my friends…and the food is forthcoming!

Anyway, I’m going to show you my decorated corner as I play along with something I saw a couple weeks ago on Mom O Matic:

Now, again taking Mom O’s lead, some random info about the corner:

  • This is the corner of my kitchen, which also serves as our living room for the most part (the TV is in another, far less pretty corner). To the left is the balcony door. If I were a better photographer, you might see the Ionian Sea through the window (and also *not* the reflection of the overhead light in the glass of the picture above the fireplace). Sorry.
  • Those blondies in the picture in the lower left corner? My niece and nephew. A good three years ago, but they’re just so darn cute in that shot, I can’t take it down. There’s a black-and-white of them, too, on the lower right side by the Christmas teddy (paw dated 2003), but you can’t see it very well from this angle. There are also individual pictures of them on the mantle in the off-white square frames. One could use the word obsession. I wouldn’t be offended.
  • I bought the 1895 map of southern Italy above the fireplace on Ebay for $2.99 (plus shipping) and got it framed and matted here for 20 euro. Many of the villages now on the coastline aren’t on the map because they weren’t built until after World War II. For anyone who hasn’t seen them, you can tell this from the concrete, institutional-like architecture that lines the coast. Very becoming.
  • My mom recently sent me the festive tablecloth and the basket that is sitting inside the fireplace (that woman can fit anything in a shipping box). These are the only new additions to the scene this year, but they really make it, don’t you think?
  • You already know a little about the heart on top of the tree.
  • That circular thing above the window? It’s a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign that says “Bless this House.” My mom is Pennsylvania Dutch, which, if you’re wondering, is not remotely Dutch and is not the same as Amish, although many Amish are indeed Pennsylvania Dutch. Please research this one on your own if interested as it’s far beyond the scope of this two-days-before-Christmas blog post.
  • The orange splash of color on the table may be my favorite thing about the picture, but I had to throw out at least half of those lovely clementines. For a few days straight, I was greeted by two maggots on my table in the morning. Always two. Swiftly eliminated. Thank goodness I don’t eat risotto for breakfast or it could’ve gotten ugly around here. Even more disturbing was that I never found the culprit, and I sure hope I didn’t eat it.

Now, come on, fellow bloggers. Show me your corners!

5 Beans of Wisdom to “Cutting Corners”
  1. Ms Adventures in Italy

    I don’t have any angolino this year….instead I brought tons and tons of sweets to work…at work we were way more festive than here, since we’ll be going to the in-laws for the holidays.

    Thanks for sharing yours!

  2. Delina

    I’m soooo jealous of your fireplace… I wonder if it’s too late to ‘fireplace’ on my Christmas list this year… ?

  3. Annika

    I thought our Christmas tree was small, but yours is tiny!
    I have to agree with Delina though, I want a fireplace too. I guess that’s a downside of renting an apartment: No fireplaces.

  4. sognatrice

    Sara, you can do any corner you like, festive or not. I’ve been seeing those sweets on your blog (and, I think, gaining a couple kilos). Yum!

    Fireplace admirers, really this has more to do with the cost of electricity and heating the house ’round these parts than anything else. But I’m not gonna lie to you. I love my fireplace too 🙂

    Annika, I *told* you my tree was mini. I figure if/when bambini come along and we have a bigger place (with, hopefully, another cute fireplace), we’ll go bigger on the tree. Slightly.

    Lotta, thanks for stopping by. Can’t wait for your next corner 🙂

  5. alexmom

    I’ll trade my American overkill decorations for your simplicita’ any day……actually, one day, I WILL trade :>) Anyway, your little corner looks delightfully festive. The Struffoli is done and my guys are cooking Christmas dinner… I’m happy. Buon Natale.

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

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Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake