Holidays: Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Christmas, as already noted, has a different feel here in Athens; we summed up our Christmas in two words: Church and silence.

The big kids rose early with B to go to Liturgy on Christmas Eve, and they were back before 10 am.  We relaxed and ate our usual bakery breakfast, and then I ventured forth for a last minute purchase.  The streets were bustling on Christmas Eve with shoppers scrambling to get those last few items from the supermarket and farmers' market.  And there were groups of two and three children, armed with triangles, knocking on doors and treating the occupants to Greek carols (but without the techno beat).  We had a couple of groups visit us in the morning, to whom we gave chocolate coins and oranges.  We don't know if that was what we were "supposed" to do, but it felt right.

On Christmas Eve we went to Vespers at a Church near our house, but T only lasted a few minutes before he was ready to leave.  As I pushed him home in the stroller, I saw these lovely lights. (B took this picture a few nights before, but I saw the same lights.)

On Christmas Day, Liturgy begins really early, like at 6 am.  We managed to get to our Church by 7:30, which is saying a lot.  When the service was over, we raced home for a big breakfast of french toast and eggs, with an extra helping of coffee for me.  The streets and playgrounds were deserted, as in absolutely silent.  I spent the early afternoon baking cookies, and we went to a cozy Christmas Day luncheon at B's workplace.  And then we all collapsed out of sheer exhaustion.

We did not open presents.  In Greece, St. Basil brings gifts for New Year's Day, so our kids are still on pins and needles.  We're baking Christmas cookies and welcoming family for a visit to while away the time.   Personally, I love waiting until New Year's to open gifts.  There's something so exciting about delayed gratification.


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