In Italy, Easter follows 40 days of Lent. During Lent, some people abstain from their favorite foods. Many Italian Easter traditions center on food for this reason. In addition to several choices for unique Italian food gifts, gifts that tie into the Catholic religion are also good choices for gifts.
Italian Easter Bread
Easter bread is a tradition in Italy, but the recipe can vary a bit from region to region within the country. Pannetone is a common Easter gift in Italy and is simply a hollow bread with multi-colored nonpareils, which are made out of sugar but resemble Easter eggs. You can also tuck actual dyed eggs still in their shells into the bread, if you desire. Just remove the eggs before eating the bread. They are only for decoration. To give this bread as a gift, wrap it in colored plastic wrap, gather at the top and tie with a pretty ribbon.
Calabria bread is a bread from Calabria, Italy, and can be made into the shape of dolls. In Italy, these baked dolls are called “pupa”. To give a baked doll as a gift, lay the finished bread flat on a foil wrapped piece of cardboard and wrap the entire thing in plastic wrap and finish with a bow taped to the top. There are also pupa doll replicas made from material available on Etsy and eBay that can be sent as a nice Italian-themed gift. The advantage of giving a cloth doll is that it could last for years to come. To give a cloth doll as a gift, grab a 3 x 5 card and print information on Calabria bread and pupa dolls as Italian Easter traditions. Punch a hole in the upper left corner of the card and attach to the doll with a piece of ribbon.
Italy is home to the Vatican. According to the CIA’s World Factbook, about 90 percent of Italy’s population is Roman Catholic. A popular gift is a rosary. Even if your gift recipient is not Catholic, a beautiful rosary can make a nice present. Rosaries are available with handmade beads as well as crystals. Find a nice selection at local Catholic suppliers, Christian bookstores and online retailers. To give the rosary as a gift, place it in a necklace box and wrap the box with pretty wrapping paper and a bow. If the recipient is not Catholic, explain how the gift ties into an Italian Easter theme.
Chocolate Eggs with Surprise Inside
Another gift that people exchange at Easter in Italy is hollow eggs with a small toy or trinket inside. At Easter, these eggs can be purchased from local drug stores and big box retailers like Target. To present as a gift, paint the outside of an empty egg carton with acrylic paint. Place the individual eggs in each egg compartment inside the carton. You might want to mix in a few chocolate eggs filled with peanut butter, marshmallow or caramel. On the inside of the lid, glue a 3 x 5-inch card that explains the tradition of giving hollow eggs with trinkets inside in Italy. Close the lid and wrap a ribbon around the carton, tying it into a bow.