What would Christmas be without the fairytales? The year’s biggest festivity comes attached with a sense of magic which each one of us wishes, deep down inside, will turn real in the new year. The festive season’s magic, along with beautiful stories about fairies, elves, goblins and nutcrackers that transform into beautiful boys on Christmas Eve, as described in E. T. A. Hoffmann’s fairytale “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”, all becomes a reality at Christmas Villages in Greece, open from December until early January.
From Athens to Drama, in the north, the biggest, most impressive and richest Christmas parks assembled in the country await visitors for a variety of activities, including insight into the worlds of confectionary making, while also to open up the minds of children to a world of offering, generosity and love, which represents the true spirit of the festive season.
The Christmas Factory – Technopolis, Athens
An imaginary world of games, resided by goblins and elves, comes to life for friends of fairy tales and adventure in the heart of Athens, at the Municipality of Athens’ Gazi venue.
Ten benches filled with delights, gift ideas, handcrafted decorative items, snacks and delicious sweets, will be open to the public from November 27 to January 6, 2022. Guests can also enjoy the Christmas Factory features, including a carousel, worm train, Dodgem cars, and, of course, the imposing and superbly lit up Ferris wheel, offering a marvellous view of wintertime Athens.
A stopover at Santa’s Factory is essential, where children will get to meet Santa Claus, have their photograph taken with him, and also write a letter for him with the help of Mrs. Santa Claus. Young visitors can then head straight to the sweets workshop, where they can make their own sweet delights, followed by a visit to the Toy Factory, where buzzing elves make holiday gifts.
Visiting the Christmas Factory on weekdays until December 23 comes with a two-tickets-for-the-price-of-one offer, at 6 euros. Family tickets for four are also available for 20 euros.
The Christmas Factory will be strictly observing public health measures. Entrance for adults will be restricted to holders of vaccination or recovery certificates (six-month validity), while an electronic entrance system will be used to avoid overcrowding. All staff and vendors at the Christmas Factory are holders of vaccination or recovery certificates (issued over the past 6 months). Mask-wearing will be compulsory at all spaces.
For further information: thechristmasfactory.gr/
Mill of the Elves – Trikala
Trikala, one of Greece’s most delightful cities, in the mid-north, has hosted its fairytale-like Christmas Village over the past ten years. Milos Ton Xotikon (Mill of the Elves), which has become a symbol for the city, offers an entertaining experience with an educational dimension stretching beyond the customary reach of festive season events. Visitors will meet brave knights, playful elves and Santa Claus at the Christmas Village’s impressive castle, and also encounter a magical wishing well.
In what is a true event highlight, the Christmas park is thematically divided into sections offering young visitors educational stories that raise awareness on crucial subjects such as the importance, in our daily lives, of water, the environment, and open-hearted love.
Mill of the Elves visitors may also immerse themselves into luna park games and rides, go ice skating at the White Palace of the Elves, purchase memorabilia and wonderful gifts at the Christmas market, taste various delights at the chocolate factory, and also learn about the fascinating world of mushrooms at the Mushroom Museum, situated inside the Christmas park.
Mill of the Elves opens December 3 until January 6, 2022, from 10am to 10pm. All children will be given small round stickers bearing their names to stick onto their jackets for swift identification purposes should they stray away from the family.
For further information: milosxotikon.gr/home/
Oneiroupoli – Drama
For nearly two decades now, lovely Drama, in northern Greece’s Macedonia region, has hosted Oneiroupoli (Dreamland), a lively Christmas Village that awakens the imaginations of children, filling their hearts with sweetness, festive-season hope and expectation.
Wishes can come true at the park’s Forest of Wishes, where visitors of all ages make their wishes for Christmas and New Year.
The little wooden hut to be seen inside the forest is full of surprises. The fairies of love create a warm and welcoming space for everyone. An enormous fairy bag awaits to be filled with the beautiful thoughts and wishes of visitors, while, inside the house, an interesting and unusual frame provides the setting for your festive-season photos.
The magical spirit of Christmas is rekindled at the municipal park and the city’s main square/ Photo: Facebook
Also, secrets behind the making of festive-season sweets can be discovered at the confectionary workshop bench. Young visitors will learn how to make fairy floss and then get to fire chocolate truffles through a rocket, all to the sound of music, dancing, joy and laughter.
As is the case every year, the magical spirit of Christmas will come alive at Drama’s municipal park and main square through a series of events, including an impressive parade and concerts.
Oneiroupoli will be open from December 5 through January 2 at a charming open-air space resembling the warm and hospitable settings of Christmas markets in Europe’s north.
For further information: facebook.com/groups/53131371208
Christmas village of the world in Katerini
The Christmas Village in northern city Katerini, organised by Drasi Neas Pierias, an action group of volunteers, in collaboration with the Doctors of the World, will once again be staged at its customary location, Katerini’s old tobacco facility, which has been transformed into a cultural centre, also run by volunteers. As always, the event promises to generate a warm Christmas spirit, as well as an overall spirit of generosity, offering joy and love to children through fairytale activities and interactive games linked to Christmas stories.
Wooden houses will once again take their places at the city’s old tobacco facility to welcome guests, who have offered strong support to this community event over the past eight years.
Last year, the Christmas Village festivities were held online, highlighting the determination and enthusiasm for this initiative by its organisers. They return in person for this festive season’s edition to fill the days and nights of visitors with Christmas magic, sweets and other festive-season delights.
For further information: facebook.com/xxtkkaterini