In my country, we used to celebrate Christmas in our houses or having lunch/ dinner at some restaurant, sometimes with live music. Younger people used to go at clubs or at the Bouzoukia, in order to have fun. This year, we are going to celebrate in our homes with the closest family members.
The last two years I spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve away from my family, in London. Last year, I celebrated Christmas with one very good friend of mine, and we had so much fun. We stayed home and prepared our Christmas lunch. I tried to make my favorite Greek meal, and we watched our favorite movies. On 26th December, we went out for lunch and we walked through London and it was almost magical. The Christmas lights in Regent Street made you feel happy and festive.
I noticed that there are differences between the Greek Christmas and the British Christmas. The first thing I noticed in London is that everything is closed at 25th of December. EVERYTHING. There is no transportation (except Uber) and all the stores are closed. As I mentioned before, in Greece some restaurants, and mostly night clubs, are open, buses and the underground (in Athens) are working normally, but with few delays.
Another thing that I noticed is the decorations. Yes, in Greece we also put Christmas decorations in main streets and Squares. In the past, there where festivities at the day the mayor of Athens or Thessaloniki, were turning on the lights on the Christmas tree, but after the economical crisis of 2008, things changed. We still use decorations but without any festivities. Another thing that needs to be mentioned is that, in Greece we are decorating boats instead of trees. Not everyone is doing it, but sometimes people are putting small lights on a decoration small boat. This tradition comes from the fact that Greece is a country with a rich navy history.
Christmas food and desserts vary greatly between the two countries. In the UK, people are making (or buying) puddings. In Greece we have special desserts that we only make for Christmas like Melomakarona and Kourabiedes and we are really obsessed with them. In fact, because I was not able to make those desserts on my own, my mother sent me last year Melomakarona and Kourabiedes that she made, with a shipper all the way from Greece. Melomakarona has as a base honey and nuts on top. Kourabiedes have almonds inside and caster sugar on top.
This year is special, and the holidays are going to be different. Although, we can try our best to have as much fun as we can and hope that next year, we will celebrate holidays the way we want to.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year