Christmas Atmosphere


Winter is cold, and it digs a hole in my soul that only the atmosphere of the Christmas days can fill. An atmosphere that for me is nothing glittering and worldly, but something intimate and warm like the crackling fire in the fireplace, the relaxed chats with the people closest to me, the sweet gaze of my Telma who from the kennel tries to understand why in those days we are always there, close to her.
I wouldn’t change these days of serenity for anything in the world, and yet… Yet one year I had to do it.
It was the night before Christmas, just like all the most classic stories of this period begin, and under the decorated tree in the living room my family and I were exchanging gifts.
As always, I was anxious to see the reaction that the others would have had when they unwrapped what I had prepared for them: would they really like it, would they really appreciate it, or would they limit themselves to a formal smile, the kind I’m not capable of turning on? the look? Even in this, as in my work, although I am sure of what I do when I do it, when the moment of delivery arrives I am always looking for confirmation.
Luckily, these confirmations have always arrived on time so far, and even on that night full of sweetness and atmosphere I was ecstatic reading on the faces of the people I love the happiness of having received as a gift the things I had prepared for them: this is why I always open my presents last, and the last one I opened that night was my husband’s.
He, too, was waiting to see my reaction to what would be a real surprise, but he certainly didn’t believe he would see me cry. And it wasn’t a cry of happiness, it was a mixture of disappointment and disappointment: he had given me a trip to New York, and we should have left in that very cold December, to go to an even colder city, leaving my home here, my fireplace, my family, my Telma…
I really didn’t want to leave, but I understood that that gift also contained the desire to share something special, and something inside me sensed that I would like those days.
So we leave our lake behind to arrive in the city that never sleeps: I didn’t sleep my first night in New York either, and not because of the time difference. I spent the first night looking out the window of the hotel room near Central Park, admiring the lights of the streets and cars that interacted with those of the Christmas trees that illuminated the shop windows and the apartment windows.
Behind each of those windows, next to all the cars I saw passing, I could hear the rhythm of the music I had always loved beating and I imagined the sequences of the films that had always marked my life.
Getting out of bed in the morning wasn’t easy, after a sleepless night, but as soon as we went out onto the streets of Manhattan I was once again overwhelmed by the emotion of seeing for the first time all the places I had always admired from the big screen: the snail along where the masterpieces of the Guggenheim museum unfold, the enormous tree and the ice rink in front of the Rockefeller Center, the metallic decorations of the Chrysler Building left me stunned and filled my heart, mind and body with the excitement that the children in front of a new game, and in the welcoming rooms of the Russian Tea Room and the Le Cirque restaurant I also managed to find the warmth that I thought I would miss.
And then, I couldn’t wait to experience the countdown in Time Square, it was my great desire, but disappointment took over when I discovered that my husband had decided to ring in the new year by having dinner on board a motorboat.
When we arrived at the pier I found myself in a fairy tale, with bright motor ships decorated in Christmas style that created an authentically American magical atmosphere.
The tables were a riot of decorations, and the waiters danced around with trays like works of art.
The guests, all Americans, sang traditional songs, transmitting a contagious energy, they seemed to have come out of a film.
The lights of the coast, the glow of the fireworks that illuminated the Statue of Liberty, made that moment unforgettable.
That experience was like being transported to a world of magic, where the beauty was so overwhelming that I forgot to even touch the food, enraptured by so much splendor.”
And in the midst of all this, the motor ship that awaited us was called: “Princess 17”: a detail that seemed part of this enchantment.
I was forced to agree with my husband: I really needed that trip, in those days I had the opportunity to reciprocate, and understand, all the affection and emotion that my American clients feel when they come to visit me in my home laboratory.
Wandering through the rooms that compose it, getting lost among the spirals that I draw by modeling the nautical ropes, reflected in the surfaces of the palladium objects and in the transparencies of the glass, I believe they feel the same sensation that I felt while wandering through the streets of that city that I continue to love.
The feeling I felt as a child, and that I still feel, when the holiday season arrives is the emotion of anticipation, the joy of discovery, and the pleasure of sharing the beautiful things I have discovered with others.
And now that I think about it, I realize that what I just described is the same path I take every day when I work on my creations.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from your “Princess 17”, Giovanna Locatelli.