Wow! What a year! Since I hit the stage with Anastasia last January at the O2 my feet quite literally haven't touched the ground, it's been an amazing 12 months. When my single, 'Turn Your Light On' became the anthem for World Earth Day in March, alongside my candle-lit video, I thought things couldn't get any better. But my creative itch got the better of me, I went into partnership with fashion icon and designer, Anna Sammorone and I've enjoyed a wonderful year which fused fashion and music alongside each other - a total dream come true.
But as December is now well upon us, my favourite festive time of the year is here, so time to sprinkle out the sparkle and throw ourselves into the Christmas magic. And as I'm fortunate enough to split my time equally between Italy and The UK, I'm in the super lucky position to be able to enjoy a yule-tide cocktail of everyone's traditions all thrown in together.
For me as I grew up in Italy, writing letters to Santa with my wish list for Christmas Day wasn't something us children ever did. It's very different in Italy with kids writing really sweet letters to their parents telling them how much they love them (oh, I wrote some really sweet things to my mum & dad). Normally we'd slip the letter under papa's plate so that he could read it after the big family Xmas Eve dinner. So how did Santa know what to bring us? Well, he didn't, but then we were more focused on La Befana, who is a kindly old witch bringing children toys on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6.
According to the legend of la Befana, the Three Wise Men stopped at her hut to ask directions on their way to Bethlehem and to invite her to join them. She refused, and later a shepherd asked her to join him in paying respect to the Christ Child. Again she refused, and when night fell she saw a great light in the skies.
La Befana thought perhaps she should have gone with the Three Wise Men, so she gathered some toys that had belonged to her own child, who had died, and ran to find the kings and the shepherd. But la Befana could not find them or the stable. Now, each year she looks for the Christ Child. Since she cannot find him, she leaves gifts for the children of Italy and pieces of coal (nowadays carbone dolce, a rock candy that looks remarkably like coal) for the bad ones.
Ah that brings back so many memories of childhood. But now, no matter what country I spend Christmas in, it's so great to see that the wonderful Italian Panettone is being deliciously embraced by almost every culture as a festive tradition. We always give a beautifully boxed Panettone to every house we visit over Christmas - and I'm always hoping to receive my favourite chocolate chip variety in return.
This year I'll be skiing with friends in the Dolomites on Christmas Day - it'll be perfect. We'll be wrapped in Christmas jumpers emblazed with Snowmen and Santa whilst we're jumping around to those classic Christmas soundtracks that have shaped many of our most treasured Christmas memories and that will continue to do so for years to come.
Christmas just wouldn't be the same without those novelty Christmas records. From the good, John Lenon's 'So This Is Christmas', The Pogues 'Fairy Tale Of New York' to the bad, Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas' and the just plain ugly - Cliff Richard's Mistletoe And Wine! Then of course there's the annual Christmas album, it's literally the same album each year just recorded by a different artist - Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, Britney, Christina Aguilera, and this year we get to enjoy Australia's finest talent with albums from Peter Andre and Kylie.
Christmas packed with music, fun and laughter is something that I hope you all enjoy this year. Merry Christmas love Giulia!