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Italy is a Catholic nation. So, the Pope was totally against Santa because of what heathens Santa and Mrs. Claus are. After all, why don't they have children? Probably they use birth control. Godless animals! So, what do Italians have instead? They have la befana, who is an alcoholic witch? I think? I like her already! Basically, la befana does the whole presents for good children, coal for bad children thing with the added twist that she flies around on a broomstick and Italian kids leave wine for her. One other difference between the Italian Christmas witch and Santa is that she ALWAYS leaves coal for the kids, even if she also leaves good stuff, because Italian kids are ALWAYS a little bit bad. Which, really teaches us something about Italian kids, and the culture at large, and Silvio Berlusconi, I think. If we want to take it that far, which I do.