- This is in answer to:
- Have you started making plans for the upcoming holiday season? See all answers
- November 20, 2011 by assentia
- Deck the Halls
Not our own hall, though. Not if I can avoid it. Not this time.
You see, I plan to be in Athens for the holidays this year. Last time was in 2009, and I've missed the atmosphere so much.
We haven't booked tickets yet, so I don't know exactly when we will be away - any time between 17 December and 2 January. I want to be there as long as possible, and not only because I desperately need seven workdays to bring my paperwork up to date, failing which would create no end of trouble.
You see, we say 'holidays' there, instead of just 'Christmas', because Christmas is only the beginning of the festive season. During most of the 12 days, the party goes on non-stop. There are so many name days to be celebrated, and a good few of them involve such popular names, that an overdose of treats is very likely, if one really keeps in touch.
The week between Christmas and the New Year also hosts more parties than any other time in the year: one long revel to celebrate the birth of the Son and chase the old year away. Add to it the fact that presents are exchanged on New Year's Day, rather than Christmas, and you can understand we could never be satisfied with a day or two of celebrating. Oh no. That's just a warm-up.
So I'm going to do everything in my power to be down early, to enjoy the build-up of activity. To decorate the tree in my mother's living room, which I haven't done since 2006, together with my little one. To welcome carol singers on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. To go to church at dawn and hear liturgy in Greek again. To have the pork and leek casserole that is traditional Christmas Day fare in my part of the country, and my mother's incomparable melomakarona. To visit with uncles and aunts and cousins and old friends, who haven't seen my son since he was just crawling. To see old friends, walk along crowded decorated streets, and welcome the New Year with fireworks at midnight and clinking glasses of bubbly with the family that made me and the one that I made, all together.
Despite the bleak economic climate in Greece right now, all I can think of is spending time with the people I care for. Nothing else matters. We've faced the spectre of poverty here as well, and we're just beginning to raise our heads above water, but I'd do anything to never have to spend another holiday season separated again.