Christmas Time In Milan

Milan - Christmas Time.
Navigli – Annual Christmas lighting

The Christmas season in Milan is one of the most beautiful times to visit the city. I was born and raised here, but it’s only in recent years that Milan has really developed on a tourist level on par with cities like London, Paris or New York (or Rome, if we are referring to Italian tourism).

The city offers a number of activities to do and places to visit at Christmas, especially in the historic center. Like every year, there are Christmas markets near Piazza Duomo, but if you are looking for something more traditional and immersive, you can also head to Rho Fiera, where the annual Craft Fair (Artigiano in Fiera) is held and where you can also participate in food tastings.

During the festive period the entire city is illuminated by lights, from the Navigli neighborhood to the Duomo cathedral area. The Darsena district is full of events and stalls, as well as places dedicated to street food, while in the city center a Christmas tree has been set up in every main square; some of the trees are sponsored by luxury brands and will remain until January 6 to bring a joyous atmosphere to Milan.

This year the tree that lights up Piazza Duomo comes from the Italian region of Trentino Alto Adige. It was supposed to be cut down, but cosmetics maker VeraLab has chosen to give it a second life; the tree is decorated with a series of energy-efficient LED lights, and the expense incurred for the energy used will be donated to a local shelter. The tree has been named Pina and I find it beautiful, with its pink lights that make the atmosphere warm and welcoming. This helps to reaffirm pink in all its shades as a 2022 trend that we will definitely carry into 2023.

The tree located in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II was set up by Swarovski as usual, super sparkling under the dome of the octagon and near which the storefront of the historic Marchesi pastry shop displays great Christmas installations.

Pink Christmas Tree and Duomo.
VeraLab Christmas tree and the Duomo at night
Swarovski Christmas Tree - Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.
Swarovski Christmas tree – Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Marchesi 1824 - Christmas Time.
Marchesi 1824 – Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

The streets of the Fashion District (Quadrilatero della Moda) were illuminated by lights, especially the Loro Piana palace, on whose façade was installed a giant Christmas lighting in the shape of a snowflake. Store windows are also decorated according to seasonal themes, such as Rolex and its mini Christmas tree. Pasticceria Cova on Via Montenapoleone displayed its Christmas-themed cake creations, a series of artistic masterpieces of the highest quality with Christmas greetings written on them.

Continuing down Via Manzoni, I spotted the historic Grand Hotel et de Milan (which has undergone renovations in recent years and whose entrance is now illuminated by Christmas lights), where my family and I would often hang out for work over the years because presentations and press days of a fashion brand we represented would be held here. I also attended the launching of some fashion collections at the hotel during sales campaign and Milan Fashion Week.


Five Favorite Christmas Movies (+ Honorable Mentions)

Image Credits: Theo Crazzolara

I love watching Christmas movies during Christmas time, and even though it is nice to discover new ones, I am very fond of the classics that I used to watch as a child. There are many Christmas movies coming out every year and it is almost impossible to pick the ones to watch; I usually see up to five movies among the are coming out or the old ones that I haven’t seen yet, but what I enjoy most is rewatching my favorite Christmas movies, which are also some of the most beloved and internationally known. I will probably rewatch a couple of the movies I am mentioning in this article and I also plan to marathon the Harry Potter series during the holidays because it is great to watch these movies in the wintertime.

Here are some of the Christmas movies I have enjoyed throughout the years:

Image Credits: Universal Pictures

1) How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Ron Howard, 2000): this is one of the most famous Christmas classics ever made. It is based on the eponymous children tale by Dr. Seuss which was previously adapted into an animated TV movie in 1966 . The magical land of Whoville exists inside a snowflake, where the Whos live and love to celebrate Christmas; they basically count down the entire year until Christmas day. The Grinch is a green creature who lives just outside Whoville and has despised Christmas time ever since he self-isolated on Mount Crumpit when he was still a child, after his classmates made fun of him for his hairy aspect. Cindy, a young girl who comes from a loving family, decides to befriend the Grinch and wants to involve him in the festivities, but when something goes wrong with the Whos, he plans to ruin Christmas day for everyone. The Grinch is played brilliantly by Jim Carrey, who is absolutely hilarious in this role. The story is very heartwarming and it does a great job in emphasizing the importance of spending time with loved ones during the holiday season. It is also a visually exceptional movie, with a great set design that makes everything feel really magical. It is a movie that stands the test of time and it will probably be appreciated by people of all ages.

Image Credits: Universal Pictures

2) Love Actually (Richard Curtis, 2003): one of the most famous romantic comedies ever made, it follows eight different couples who are managing their love lives in various interconnected plots all set in the hectic month before Christmas. These stories take place in London and the cast is terrific, as it includes many famous actors and actresses like Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson. It is a very powerful movie that is all about love and its numerous meanings; its storylines are well developed and the lives of all these people are connected by love. It is both touching and funny thanks to great performances by all the cast members; I have watched Love Actually with my family during the holiday season almost every year since it first came out because it is very intelligent and it perfectly embodies the meaning of Christmas. It is heartwarming and sweet; there is that certain something about the film that makes it a staple of the Christmas genre and one feels compelled to watch it every year in the wintertime, as it is filled with romantic moments and tender gestures we can all identify with in one way or another.


Five Books To Read During The Holiday Season

Image Credits: Eleonora Albasi

As I have previously mentioned in my article about Halloween book recommendations, I tend to read books according to the current season so in the wintertime I will find myself reading books like Anna Karenina or War and Peace (I still haven’t read the latter but have recently heard that it’s a great book to read when it’s cold outside).

Today I am going to recommend you five books that I’ve enjoyed through the years that are perfect for Christmas time. I am currently rereading one of the books included in the list, a novel that is not entirely set during Christmas but it evokes deep feelings of tenderness; I first read it when I was ten years old and it holds a special place in my heart.

Here below you will find my top five books to read around Christmas, in no particular order:

Image Credits: Speak

1) Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle: I am a fan of John Green’s books, as I have read three of his YA novels and enjoyed them all (I still cry when I think about Looking for Alaska). Let It Snow is a series of interconnected tales written by three authors from which the magic of the holidays shines through. You will probably have a preference for one of the stories over another (my favorite remains “Jubilee Express”, the one written by Maureen Johnson), but they all have such a great Christmas atmosphere, since the events also take place during a snowstorm. The short stories in this anthology are all connected by a thread so you recognize the characters as you read on. The book has lots of sweet moments and it even made me laugh at some points. There is also a Netflix film adaptation available which is not bad; I have noticed that it seems to be a love-it-or-hate it kind of book, but if you are in the mood for a light Christmas read you will probably enjoy it.

Image Credits: Oxford Children’s Classics

2) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: this is one of the most famous Christmas stories which has been adapted for the screen multiple times (there is also a Mickey Mouse version that I saw when I was little and another one starring the Muppets). Ebenezer Scrooge is a very grumpy and stingy man who resents the Christmas season, but suddenly he is visited by three spirits who advise him to change his attitude before it is too late. It is a classic story which is known worldwide and it is rich in symbolism; it really makes the reader understand how it’s never too late to change their ways. It is very profound and I always like to revisit it during the holiday season because it conveys the true meaning of Christmas, something that we all need to be reminded of in an era of excessive consumerism; many parts of the story underline how money cannot really buy happiness, and this is perfectly clear when you look at the character of Mr Scrooge, who is actually an unhappy person that refuses to take part in the joyful atmosphere of Christmas. A Christmas Carol is a deeply known and appreciated tale which is almost a personification of Christmas itself.