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Preparing for Christmas in Crete

December 23, 2011


Our limited Christmas decorations have now been put up and a small artificial tree, bought in Ierapetra, has been added to the tinsel, Christmas cards, a Christmas stocking and a few furry favourites such as Rudolf and a Snowman (well you have to try!!) Both Graham and Rosie have arrived and some favourite games (Labyrinth, Chinese Whist and even Scrabble) have been played. The wine and some of the food has been bought and the turkey ordered. The carols and Christmas songs are being played on the IPOD, to remind us that Christmas is very soon.

But it does feel a bit different from the preparations of Christmas at home.  One of the main reasons is that some of these tasks were done in October and November.  The cards were written and sent, the presents bought and covered with Christmas paper and the limited decorations packed.  John did not make a Christmas cake but my sister in law, Winnie, kindly gave us a Fair Trade one which only requires to be eaten! The Christmas sweets (Rose’s chocolates, Orange and Lemon slices, Bassets Liquorice Allsorts and Turkish Delight) were bought in Kirkcudbright.  So ever since we have been here, Christmas has been only a date in the calendar sometime in the future and there hasn’t been much to do which feels very strange! 

Also, only in the last few days have there been signs here that Christmas is celebrated here.  As John and I drove into Heraklion on Tuesday evening to pick up Graham, there were Chrismas lights around but still pretty limited.  There were the signs of Christmas in the supermarkets in the UK back in October!  We don’t know whether Christmas carols are being sung or parties are taking place, as we are are new to the area but it does seem that it is a lower key event.  

The weather has been bright and sunny, except for yesterday when there was torrential rain, lots of wind and there were massive waves on the sea.


The normal good weather might be a reason why Christmas isn’t celebrated here so much because the Greeks don’t need a celebration to get them through the winter and in fact see Easter as the much more important religious event.

So I have more time as much of the preparation has been done and it does feel a bit different celebrating Christmas in a different culture and climate.  I’m not complaining!  Christmas will be celebrated and I’m lucky to have my family here with me.  Hans and Hanneke took the four of us to a great Cretan taverna last night where the quality and cheapness of the food was unbelievable and today John is cooking a goat stew.  So life is good.   And we have to hope that the butcher has remembered to get us a turkey and that we can get it into the oven.  Oh and there is the second Greek lesson in an hours time.  So we do have a little bit of stress!!!!



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  1. Annie & Gideon permalink

    Hi Sheila, John,

    I’m enjoying your blog but haven’t left a comment till now. It is refreshing to experience Christmas away from the total overkill of UK is it not. Much less stressful. We are off to Sanya this morning, cake is packed and I’ve prepared some food so that I don’t have to cook there. Goat will be on the menu of course, we have to go to the market and find a tasty looking one! Boxing day we go to the village of Goodluck & Suzan which is the other side of Moshi – more goat! Have a lovely time with Graham and Rosie! Happy Christmas ! Lots of love, Annie & Gid xx

  2. Ian permalink

    Once, when presented with a cuboid confection with my coffee at the end of a meal in a Greek restaurant in Tottenham Court Road, I exclaimed in delight, ‘Ah, Turkish Delight!’ Bad move. The waiter, a large man with copious chest hair sprouting through his shirt, leaned menacingly close to my ear and hissed ‘Greek Delight’. I just tell you this for your protection. However, you can impress the locals by calling it λουκούμι (loukoumi).

    Merry Christmas


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