The sweet nostalgia of Christmas in Athens during the 1960s and 70s

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Walking in the centre of Athens, Greece during Christmas time in the 1960s and 70s was a whole ritual. Many readers of The Greek Herald may retain unaltered images from that time.

The whole family dressed well and wanted to experience the decoration of the city that, although much poorer than we are today, always hid a magical glow.

The Minion building had a leading place in Athens – flooded with light and full of colours. During the Christmas season, on the seventh floor, a whole Christmas scene was set up for the children.

Toys and gifts fascinated the little ones and getting a photo with Santa was one of the greatest joys of every child.

Other buildings which gave a festive touch to Athens were Dragonas, the Tsitsopoulos-Athenee Bros, the Lambropoulos Bros, Klaoudatos and Katrantzos, among many others.

The Panhellenic markets were the ultimate destination for games and parents bought ‘good’ leather shoes for their children from Mouger’s.

After shopping, families went for doughnuts at Krinos or Zonars, which was a meeting point of urban and secular Athens.

The streets were full of people who usually went to the centre of the city by bus to experience the festive atmosphere.

The vendor carts that lined Athenian streets seemed like miracles to the eyes of children with their inflatable Santa’s and toys.

Traffic wardens with tinsel around them impressed passers-by. The seamstresses sewed feverishly to get dresses ready in time for the New Year’s Eve season.

No matter how many years have passed, no matter how many things have changed, Christmas has been and will always be the most glamorous holiday for children and adults.

The days of 1960-1970 are gone but those who lived those years hold them deep in their souls with a sweet nostalgia and always recall fond memories.

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