Christmas trees are not traditional for Neapolitans. Instead, a creche (called a presepio) showing the scene of the Nativity is prepared before dinner. The figures that go into the creche are often antique and beautifully sculpted. Old ones are rare but in Naples beautiful new ones are still made by a few artisan sculptors.
After the Nativity creche has been assembled, zampognari, shepherds from the mountains of Abruzzi, often come to play Christmas music on their bagpipes. The men, who during the Christmas season wander all over Italy, playing in the streets or at private houses, are colorfully dressed in felt hats, sheepskin vests, and leggings that lace up their legs. Their bagpipes are oddly comic, with sheeps' feet hanging down from them. At midnight on Christmas Eve, following the departure of the zampognari, the entire family, including babies and grandparents, attends the candlelit midnight mass.
With the dinner which follows, we often drink a white wine from the island of Ischia, Biancolella or Casa d'Ambra. The production is extremely limited-usually only enough for our region - so it is hard to find elsewhere.