athens: merry christmas!

Posted on December 26, 2005

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Athens Christmas.jpg

by seawitch

One good thing about Christmas in Greece is that I can divide my Christmas shopping into two expeditions. Since Greeks traditionally exchange gifts on January 1, I get an extra week after Christmas to buy my Greek friends their gifts. My foreign friends and I still exchange our gifts on Christmas Day and fortunately, I’ve finished buying all their presents on time and by tomorrow, I will have more space under the tree to put all the gifts for my Greek friends. This way, my Christmas tree gets more ‘use’ and doesn’t look so empty after Christmas Day. The Christmas season seems to last longer and I love it. Any reason to keep the glitter and lights around for another week suits me just fine.

Although Christmas ranks second to Easter in Greece, it’s still quite an event. More and more Greeks every year are decorating their balconies in Athens with Christmas lights which makes driving at night dangerous since I find myself looking at the lights and not the street. It’s not yet to the extremes of Chevy Chase’s ” Christmas Vacation” but I figure in a couple of years, the light displays will become even more elaborate and I’ll have to make sure I walk instead of drive so as not to become a danger to myself and others around me.

Some homes and offices will decorate a boat instead of the imported Christmas tree tradition. The boat is a symbol of Greece’s long-standing role as a seafaring nation and many Greeks consider the Christmas tree to be a foreign custom although it seems to be quickly replacing the boat in Greek living rooms during Christmas season. Since Christmas is nothing if not a holiday of tradition, I think I will pay tribute to the Greek custom and have a decorated boat inmy house next year as well as my Christmas tree. Glitter is my personal tradition so having another object to decorate is a good thing.

Glitter aside, I now need to focus on my Christmas dinner. It’s been an hour since the last child sung the kalanda (carols) so it’s time to leave the house and get the last minute ingredients to complete my Greek/Canadian Christmas dinner. If all goes according to my plan, there’ll be a perfectly roasted turkey and Christopsomo (Christ bread) on the table by 3pm tomorrow.

ΚΑΛΕΣ ΓΙΟΡΤΕΣ! (Happy Holidays!)

Posted in: at random, athens