Viral TikTok reminds us of childhood sleepovers at yiayia and pappou’s house

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By Marianna Alepidis

One regular evening, as grandparents Dimitri and Connie Maggos were preparing to wind down in front of their television, they were met by a small crowd of people knocking on their door.

In the now viral TikTok posted by Illiana Venetsanos, ten grandchildren (Venetsanos included), made their way to their yiayia and pappou’s home to surprise them for a sleepover.

The video shows yiayia Connie and pappou Dimitri pleasantly shocked by the arrival of all their grandchildren.

@illianavenetsanos

All the grandchildren suprising our Yiayia and Papou with a sleepover 🫶🏼🤍

♬ New Home – Frozen Silence

“My yiayia and pappou have four children and 14 grandchildren. One of her children lives in Rhodes, Greece which means unfortunately four of our cousins couldn’t make it. But the other 10 grandchildren all attended the sleepover,” Venetsanos tells The Greek Herald.

“My favourite part of the night was the expressions on their faces when we walked through the doors – it was absolutely priceless and totally worth the effort. I’m thrilled that we came together as a family to surprise both of them.”

Viral TikTok reminds us of childhood sleepovers at yiayia and pappou’s house.
Viral TikTok reminds us of childhood sleepovers at yiayia and pappou’s house.

Venetsanos captured some moments throughout their evening to fulfil the request of all the parents, who hoped to savour the memories and also catch a glimpse of what their children got up to at yiayia and pappou’s house.

The video has been making the rounds online, amassing almost half a million likes on TikTok, and has been reposted across social media by Instagram pages such as Greek and Proud.

“We’re amazed and pleasantly surprised that it’s gained viral attention. It’s heartening to read the positive comments and observe many people expressing the desire to follow and surprise their grandparents along with their cousins,” she said.

“Yiayia and pappou are thrilled and genuinely surprised by the positive response. They may not fully comprehend the extent of the video’s impact, but they are aware that it has garnered significant attention and appreciation… We have told them about the amount of views it has gotten and all the beautiful comments, and yiayia’s first response was ‘You should’ve let me fix my hair’.”

Viral TikTok reminds us of childhood sleepovers at yiayia and pappou’s house.
Viral TikTok reminds us of childhood sleepovers at yiayia and pappou’s house.

Originally the idea of their aunty, the Maggos’ grandchildren found the perfect opportunity to enact their plan whilst on their summer break from work.

Of course, seeing their grandchildren arrive meant yiayia and pappou Maggos pulled out all the stops. An abundance of food and games appeared before their very eyes.

“The moment we entered, yiayia was already pulling food from the fridge and firing up the oven, while pappou reached for the cards on the top shelf. Even though we arrived post-dinner, and she technically didn’t have to feed us, yiayia couldn’t resist ensuring our bellies were satisfied,” Venetsanos said.  

Viral TikTok reminds us of childhood sleepovers at yiayia and pappou’s house.
Viral TikTok reminds us of childhood sleepovers at yiayia and pappou’s house.

“We all gathered, enjoying her spaghetti bolognese, an array of snacks, fruits, Greek sweets, and her famous spanakopita that everyone can’t get enough of. Later, we circled around the table, engaging in card games, sharing tales of old memories, laughing, and enjoying lots of delicious food.”

The night truly roused the nostalgia the Maggos’ grandchildren had for the evenings they were dropped off at their beloved yiayia and pappou’s home to stay the night. There was no shortage of happy memories that were brought to the surface of their minds.

Viral TikTok reminds us of childhood sleepovers at yiayia and pappou’s house.
Viral TikTok reminds us of childhood sleepovers at yiayia and pappou’s house.

“Some of the best memories we cherish involve yiayia’s delicious food, and coming together as a family to savour her home-cooked meals, often accompanied by her irresistible Greek sweets. Even if we were already full, Yiayia would be upset if we didn’t eat, so we’d overindulge just to see her happy,” she recalled.

“Another cherished memory revolves around lounging on the couch, tuning in to Greek news, enjoying performances by Greek singers and singing along with them, and engaging in card games and tavli. Card games have always been a favourite in our competitive family, although pappou consistently wins.”

Viral TikTok reminds us of childhood sleepovers at yiayia and pappou’s house.
Viral TikTok reminds us of childhood sleepovers at yiayia and pappou’s house.

There was however one sore spot for all the cousins.

“As kids, my cousins and I would eagerly anticipate finding a tin box of lollies in Yiayia’s glass display cupboard, only to discover it was actually filled with sewing equipment. It became a running joke in the family,” she said.

Mr and Mrs Maggos migrated to Australia in 1964 on a boat from Athens. Yiayia Connie hails from the island of Symi and pappou Dimitri from the island of Lipsi.

Viral TikTok reminds us of childhood sleepovers at yiayia and pappou’s house.

Closing in on 60 years in Australia, Mr Maggos often reflects on his voyage and life with his grandchildren.


“Another memory involves sitting with pappou as he recounted tales of their journey to Australia on a boat from Greece, his days of working multiple jobs day and night, and his enduring love for fishing, a passion he still shares with his kids and grandkids,” Venetsanos said.

Viral TikTok reminds us of childhood sleepovers at yiayia and pappou’s house.
Viral TikTok reminds us of childhood sleepovers at yiayia and pappou’s house.

The comment section of the video has been flooded with others expressing their desire to surprise their own grandparents.

“If you’re thinking of surprising your grandparents, do it. Our grandparents always have the same schedule so we knew they were going to be home and watching TV so the surprise wasn’t that hard to pull off,” Venetsanos concluded.

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