In the historic city, the street of the nativity scene builders, Via San Gregorio Armeno, is
especially busy at this time of year. You can find many craftspeople who offer nativity scenes and figurines in all variations. In addition to the figurines of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus, you can get detailed copies of all
household objects, gastronomic delights, exotic animals, and sometimes even caricatured politicians to extend your nativity scene.
The Christmas tree wasn’t put up in Neapolitan homes until the 50s. In most cases they
are artificial and are being decorated with funny, colourful ornaments (for example, with plastic oranges). Sometimes, they even rotate while an integrated music box plays apparently tacky Christmas music. All in all, Christmas
isn’t a contemplative or quiet celebration. The Neapolitans celebrate Christmas in a cheerful way, and they like to decorate their shops and streets with twinkling, colourful lights.
During the whole Christmas season and at New Year’s Eve, Neapolitans like to play Tombola. The Tombola is a game of luck for the whole family, which is based on the mysticism
of numbers and their connections to dreams (just like the typical prognosis of the lottery numbers). In Naples, every number has been assigned a certain symbol (la Smorfia): each number has a certain meaning, for example, 16
stands for the bottom, or 22 stands for the crazy person. A player draws numbers from a little basket and tells a funny or exciting story based on the symbols. Each player has a board with a specific combination of numbers, and the
person who completes his or her number combination first, is the winner.