An Italian American Christmas

Several years back, an evangelical Christian co-worker was complaining about the secularization of Christmas. “Jesus is the reason for the season,” he declared, literally raising his arm, pointing to the heavens above. “What does Christmas mean to you? Is it a holiday or a holyday?” he asked, almost daring me to answer incorrectly, or at least what he thought was incorrect. “Neither.” I said, totally confusing him. “I’m Italian. Christmas means more to me than either of those.”

Christmas is neither a holiday or a holyday. Although, according to the Catholic Church, Christmas Day is

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