Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to you!

"When it snows, you have two choices: Shovel or make snow angels!"

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Homesick in Lugano

“When you leave a country, you leave behind something of your heart.”
Belgian Proverb

We have come back to Lugano for a few days holidays. I really miss the mountains and I am thoroughly enjoying the fresh air; two things I miss most in Paris. I spent a lovely afternoon strolling along the lake of Lugano soaking up the sunrays, curing my homesickness.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas market in Lugano

"Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas."
Peg Bracken

Countless flavours, scents and traditional terroir products can be discovered at the Lugano Christmas market. Atmosphere guaranteed for young and old.

Mistletoe, mistletoe, where will you go? Who will fall under your spell?

Befana mia befana,
esci dalla tana,
con le tue scarpette rosa,
buttami giù qualche cosa!

Mmhh! Che profumo!

Gabbani, a Lugano institution

Some serious salami

Gran Café al Porto's window display 

Poinsettia duo

Simple, elegant, natural Christmas decoration

Not quite sure where this character is from?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

IWCL Evening group Happy Hour

"In victory I deserve Champagne, in defeat I need it."
Napoleon Bonaparte

The IWCL Evening Group are at it again. They are organising a pre-Christmas Happy Hour.

Have you ever wondered where the expression "Happy Hour" comes from?
One possible origin of the term is from the United States Navy. In the 1920s, "Happy Hour" was slang for a scheduled entertainment period on board a ship during which boxing and wrestling bouts took place; this was a valuable opportunity for sailors to relieve the stress accumulated during the long periods at sea.

The idea of drinking before dinner has its roots in the Prohibition era. When the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act were passed banning alcohol consumption, citizens would host "cocktail hours", also known as "happy hours", at a speakeasy (an illegal drinking establishment) before eating at restaurants where alcohol could not be served.

Cocktail lounges continued the trend of drinking before dinner. "Happy hour" entered civilian use around 1960, especially after a Saturday Evening Post article on military life in 1959.

Come join the International crowd of Lugano and raise a toast to new and old friends.

Venue: Evening Group Happy Hour
Where: Patio Restaurant & Lounge Bar, Via Motta 7, 6900 Lugano
When: Thursday, December 22nd, 2011
Time: 19:30

Please reserve your place directly with the IWCL at by December 20th.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas spirit in Lugano

Need some last minute Christmas present inspiration? Or just want to soak up the festive atmosphere? Enjoy browsing through markets and tasting new flavours? Take a stroll down town Lugano and explore the Christmas market with over 150 stalls. Piazza Riforma and its surroundings are populated by charming wooden houses, where you can find all sorts of Christmas specialties, decorations and original gift ideas.

Even Palazzo Civico bedecks itself for the holidays. For one whole week the historical facades will be animated by lights, sounds and colours, as if the Town Hall were to become the stage set of another world for a while.

Feel like some exercise? Go for a skate in Piazza Manzoni! The skating rink is open every day until January 8th. Entrance is free and if you don't have your own skates, you can rent them right there. If you still don't know how to skate, don't worry, free skating lessons will be provided by the Lugano Skating Club. Skates rental CHF 5.-.

So, go ahead! Check out the city's tallest Christmas tree with your children and join the Christmas spirit in Piazza Riforma.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Waiting for the snow and the tourists to arrive in Switzerland

We are less than a week away from Christmas and still waiting for the snow to arrive. If we are lucky, however, we just might have a white Christmas. In the meantime, enjoy this video sponsored by the Swiss Tourism board.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sending a letter to Father Christmas in Ticino

"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air."
W. T. Ellis

The children wishing to write a letter to Father Christmas or Baby Jesus (Gesù bambino) will not be disappointed. Usually the post would send such "ficticious" letters back to the sender with the words "recipient unknown". However, the Swiss post has set up a special team located in Chiasso who will endeavor not only to respond to the letters but also send a small gift.

The six employees of the "Baby Jesus and Father Christmas" office are in charge of dividing the letters depending on their origin. If possible, they will send a reply signed by the Gesú bambino or Father Christmas in one of the four national languages  or in English. They will also attach a gift and a little story. 

This year, the protagonists of the story - designed in collaboration with WWF - will be a family of panda bears. A Christmas stamp has been created and the postmark originates directly from the Bethlehem post office in Berne.

Last year, Baby Jesus and Father Christmas received nearly 17,000 letters from children asking for a gift or sending good wishes. Most of the letters came from the Romandie, followed by Ticino, the Swiss German part and Switzerland's Romansh population. More than 200 letters arrived from abroad. In 96% of the cases the good souls at the Bethlehem post office managed to reply. 

Therefore, if you're children wish to send a letter to Father Christmas or Gesù bambino, go ahead and give them a hand. Just make sure they include their home address in order to receive a timely answer.

Let them invent Father Christmas' address, I'm sure it will make you smile!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A special Christmas gift

“The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.”
 Ralph Waldo Emerson

As the Christmas holidays approaches, everyone is coming down with a case of shopping fever. The search for that perfect gift for everyone can be quite long, considering every person is special and has different tastes. However, one solution to this dilemma is giving symbolic presents instead. Here are a few suggestions for special gifts:

- a firm handshake to a shaky soul,
- a kind word to a lonely person,
- a warm smile to the disheartened,
- a sincere concern for someone troubled,
- a feeling of compassion for the neglected,
- a comforting thought for the bereaved,
- a respect for the dignity of others,
- a defense of the rights of individuals,
- a word of witness to help a seeking soul,
- a Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

InterNations Christmas Party in Lugano

Christmas is just around the corner. Need to let your hair down and take a deep breath between rushing around shopping for the perfect gift, organizing holiday trips or preparing culinary delcacies? The answer is a night out with a bunch of fun-loving people.

InterNations' December event will differ from their regular events and features a unique format. At NYX Lounge InterNations have put together a special Standing Christmas Buffet Dinner package including lots of extras for our members. Doors will open at 7pm.

All attendees will receive a free welcome drink (Martini Prosecco) and the Standing Buffet will start at 8pm. Please check the event post for details on the offered food and please do sign up at the InterNations site.

Not only will you be offered a choice of Prosecco/White Wine/Red Wine (3 glasses per person) and
LIVE MUSIC,but you'll also receive a free welcome Poker Chip for the Casino worth CHF 5.-.

So what are you waiting for? It's all happening tonight with over 125 people signed up for the fun. See you there.

Venue: InterNations Christmas Party
Where: NYX LOUNGE, Via Stauffacher 1, 6901 Lugano, Tel. +41 79 870 93 13,
When: Wednesday, December 14th , 2011
Time: 19:00
Price: Members Chf 55.-, Guests: CHF 65.-

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

100 years of style in 100 seconds

“Style is an expression of individualism mixed with charisma. Fashion is something that comes after style.”
John Fairchild

Like most of the folks out there I am busy with Christmas preparations and gift hunting for my entire Italian family. They provide the food, I need to come up with the presents for everyone.....

So while I'm running around Paris, I thought I'd entertain you with a lovely video about the last 100 years of style.

It is an ad for the new Westfield Stratford City shopping center in England and shows a man and a woman gyrate their way through 100 years of costume changes in 100 seconds — take a look for yourselves.

Friday, December 9, 2011

What to do on a rainy afternoon in Lugano?

“Sports do not build character. They reveal it.”
John Wooden

Wondering what to do on a rainy afternoon with your kids in Lugano? Well, if you've seen all the kids' movies at CineStar, you've decorated the Christmas tree and can't face the crowds of shoppers in Grancia, here's an idea. Check out your local gym. The foundation IdeeSport has come up with a brilliant suggestion.

Every fifth child is overweight in Switzerland and half of all six year olds can no longer somersault. Now that's a scary idea! The solution is simple: more exercise!

This is where the new project "Open Gym Sunday" comes to the rescue. Gym facilities are available during the winter months every Sunday afternoon from 14:00 to 17:00.

A programme of motion skill and free games are offered. The progamme's general idea is to offer open gyms for free on Sunday afternoons and therefore a place of aggregation for boys and girls. With the opening of the gym, youngsters have the opportunity to play and relate to each other, while engaging in a healthy alternative to their sedentary habits. It aims encourage the non-competitive sports, reinforce team work and improve the childrens' physical well-being. Part of the objective is to promote and enhance social relationships between children and to integrate foreign and marginalized children.

A project leader, assisted by senior and junior coach, has the task of planning, organizing and managing activities gym. Volunteers are involved in the preparation and distribution of a healthy mid-afternoon snack.

When: Sunday afternoons from 14.00 to 17.00 between November and March (except holidays)
For whom: boys and girls between 6 and 11 years
Staff: the staff is a key element in order to guarantee the success of Open Gym Sunday. They are competent, motivated and enthusiastic.

Click here to find the closest gym near you and remember the entrance is free.

For more information contact directly:

Foundation IdeeSport
Italian Swiss Region
Piazza G. Buffi 8
6500 Bellinzona
Tel: 091 826 40 70

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Spread the Christmas spirit

"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. "
Roy L. Smith

December is the month for hearty Christmas carols, crumbly mince pieces and warming mulled wine. Hurry and hit the streets for some festive adventures – ice skating, theatre trips and puppet-shows galore.

Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, love and goodwill to all. But with all the stress and commotion of the season, many of us end up feeling quite to opposite.

Here are some ideas to improve the Christmas spirit around you. Promise it does not take much...apart from a little personal effort!

Wish people that you meet in stores and other casual environments a happy holiday. Say it with a smile.

Drop spare coins in the Salvation Army collection buckets.

Do something nice for someone. Offer to baby-sit so a friend can do her Christmas shopping, take cookies to your neighbors, or shovel an elderly neighbor's walk.

Volunteer your time to a worthy holiday cause. Even if you are busy, you can spare an hour or two to help people less fortunate than yourself.

Organize a drive at work, at school or in your neighborhood. Collect food and personal items and donate them to a local shelter for the homeless or for battered women.

Play Christmas music.

Watch Christmas movies. "It's a Wonderful Life" is a good one for reviving a flagging Christmas spirit, as is "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Read "A Christmas Carol" and "A Child's Christmas in Wales."

Decorate your house for the holidays.

Hug your hubby and your kids and wish them a happy holiday season.

Monday, December 5, 2011

De Samichlaus chunnt

De Wald isch wiis und voller Schnee,
ich glaub, ich han de Chlaus grad gseh.
Mis Herzli chlopfed ganz fescht und gschwind,
gaht er no zu andere Chind?
Chum ine, liebe Samichlaus,
und lär Diin Sack grad us,
chumm, bliib doch no es Wiili i öisem warme Huus

December 6th is a very important personal date. It brings back fond memories of my early childhood. Growing up in Zürich, Switzerland it is the day St.Nicolas (Samichlaus) comes to down bringing mandarines, nuts and chocolate to all the good girls and boys. At school we used to receive a Grittibänz (St.Nicolas bread). In exchange children are asked to recite a poem about Samichlaus.
You are wondering what happens to bad boys and girls? Well read last years' post about Schmutzli, Samichlaus' helper who is in change of spanking the bad kids with his rod made out of little branches.

Should you be looking for a Samichlaus goodnight story for your kids on this special night click here for Marlies Klein's Santa's Grand Tour:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

7 facts about Santa's reindeer

Eight little reindeer beside Santa's sleigh, 

Getting hitched up - to be on their way.
The first one said, "We can't be late,"

The second one said, "Christmas won't wait."

The third one said, 'The sleigh's full of toys....."

The fourth one said, "For all the girls and boys."

The fifth one said, '"I'm ready to fly...."
The sixth one said, "Across the evening sky."
The seventh one said, "Look, it's starting to snow."
The eighth one said, "I think it's time to go."
Ready?" asked Santa. "It's almost Christmas Day."
And off they all flew - - up, up, and away!

One of my most popular posts around Christmas is: How many reeindeer does Santa have?
I therefore decided to come up with some more fun facts on reindeer.

1.) The names of Santa's reindeer are from the poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas", more commonly known as "The Night Before Christmas," written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1823.

2.) Most of Santa’s reindeer have male-sounding names, such as Blitzer, Comet, and Cupid. However, male reindeers shed their antlers around Christmas, so the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh are likely not male, but female or castrati.

3.) Rudolph's story was originally written in verse by Robert L. May for the Montgomery Ward chain of department stores in 1939, and published as a book to be given to children in the store at Christmas time. According to this story, Rudolph's glowing red nose made him a social outcast among the other reindeer. However, one Christmas Eve Santa Claus was having a lot of difficulty making his flight around the world because it was too foggy. When Santa went to Rudolph's house to deliver his presents he noticed the glowing red nose in the darkened bedroom and decided it could be a makeshift lamp to guide his sleigh. He asked Rudolph to lead the sleigh for the rest of the night, Rudolph accepted and returned home a hero for having helped Santa Claus.

4.) Norwegian scientists have hypothesized that Rudolph’s red nose is probably the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system.

5.) Reindeer have large hooves that spread apart as they walk on the snow. They act like snowshoes and prevent the reindeer from sinking in the snow! Have you ever tried walking with snowshoes?  These special hooves also help them look for food beneath the snow.  The tendons in their hooves create a clicking sound when they walk.

6.) Reindeer have an excellent sense of smell. Because food is scarce in the Arctic, reindeer use their great sense of smell to detect food buried deep beneath the snow.

7.) Reindeer are excellent swimmers.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Family Christmas Party in Lugano

"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other."
Burton Hillis

Bring the children out for an afternoon of fun. Discover a special family event in Lugano with lots of activities and entertainment for kids organized by IWCL (International Women’s Club of Lugano - & AWOT (American Women of Ticino -

Kids show, face painting, slide, candyfloss, snacks, presents, free photo with Santa Claus and much more... Come and make the most of an opportunity for families to get together.

Where: Hotel Pestalozzi, Piazza Indipendenza 9, 6900 Lugano
When: Sunday, December 4th, 2011
Time: 15:00 to 17:30

Tickets: AWOT and IWCL Members: 3.- CHF/adult , 2.- CHF/child
Non Members: 5.- CHF/ adult , 2.- CHF/child

Please book your place ASAP and let them know the number of adults and children (+ age) at:

Come meet the sponsors personally and discover their products and skills:
All for Kids -
Cakes by Sonia  -
Celeste Colmenero - Piano teacher -
F.H. Laffranchi SA - Party and Events shop -
Gianluca Rossi - Party Planner -
Marian Bader photographer -
Masaba Coffee Club -
RTL Traduzioni e Scuola di Lingue Reist Sagl -
Veasna Brunel - Asia & Fusion catering&cooking lesson: 078 685 02 84
Zebra Pua  - Party Planner -
Zucchero Filato Eventi - zuccherofilatoevent

Most of all: HAVE FUN!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Anglican Church in Lugano: Christmas Fayre

Enter into the Christmas spirit, in the festive setting of the newly renovated Casa Benson, located adjacent to St. Edward’s church.

Be tempted by a selection of homemade traditional specialities using finest ingredients, all lovingly prepared by the St.Edward's community.

Enjoy a glass of mulled wine whilst browsing the Book Nook's second hand books for adults and children.

Handicrafts, Preserves, Christmas Crackers, Small Gifts, Decorative Items, Treasures from the Attic, and tickets for the Christmas raffle will all be on sale. Remember to visit the youngsters' stall with their handmade angels.

Morning coffee and lunch will be served. Child Care will be provided.

Venue: St. Edward’s Christmas Fayre
Where: Casa Benson (Via Maraini 6, Lugano)
When: Saturday, December 3rd, 2011
Time: 10:00-15:00

For more info contact: Annie Horlock at

Please stop by to show your support!
All proceeds will go to the ministry of St.Edward's Church, Lugano

Monday, November 28, 2011

Young business women of Ticino - listen up!

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any."
Alice Walker

Are you under 35? Would you like to join a group of professional women and expand your network? Then sign up for an informal aperitivo Thursday, Dec. 1st at 7 PM at the Anacapri restaurant.

The International Federation of Business and Professonal Women (BPW International) was founded by Dr. Lena Madesin Phillips in 1930. BPW International was founded on the vision of achieving workplace equality, right to vote and equal pay.

Since the launch of their triennium theme - Empowered Women Leading Business - BPW women are inspiring businesses, empowering communities and creating opportunities around the world. BPW brings you regular insights into what and how their members are creating lasting change by leading the BPW International initiatives that are firmly in place.

Their purpose is to support professional women up to 35 years old by providing unlimited access to mentors, role models, like minded career women and thousands of friends across the globe!

Should you be interested in joining BPW International and bring the voice of women to business, please click here:

For more information e-mail:

Venue: Young Business Professional Women of Ticino
Where: Ristorante Anacapri, Via Clemente Maraini, 6900 Lugano, (
When: Thursday, Dec 1st, 2011
Time: 19:00

Friday, November 25, 2011

Advent calendar inspiration

Need some inspiration for advent calendars? If you are planning to make an Advent Calendar for Christmas this year, it's time to start preparing. Whether you prefer to buy one, to buy a kit or to make one yourself, following are some ideas:

Here are some suggestions of gifts for the advent calendar or stocking stuffers:
Christmas Decoration for the tree or their room
Hairclips or hairbands
Lip Balm
Christmas Earrings
Nail polish
Manicure set
Dress up accessories, eye patch, scarf etc
Matchbox cars
Christmas craft packs
Bubble bath
Key ring
Lollies or chocolates
Small toy
Action figures
Glow sticks
Card Games
Backpack dangley label
Doll’s clothes
Colouring book
Pencil case
Stamps and ink
Batteries for the toy’s on Christmas Day


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