The house was unnaturally warm. There was something special about the atmosphere.
We spent the winter in a cold house. We had no heating to save money.
Cold house, always warm hearts. I never complained as a kid about the cold.
And there would come those 15 magical days. The Christmas days when your wishes could come true.
The days when your mom and dad asked you what you wanted from Santa Claus. The days when you wrote a letter to Santa Claus. When you wanted a lot but asked for a little because deep down you knew that Dad and Mom would get you the gifts, and they couldn’t. You knew it, you felt for them, but you were living the fairy tale, you were part of it. You’d seen the presents you asked for the year before behind the radiator. You knew…
What a good saint that Santa Claus was! Whatever you wanted, he tried to get it for you.
I’m talking about the times between 1970 and 1980.
Back when there was Minion, Labropoulos and Katrantzos (big multi-shops in Greece). Back when we used to go downtown Athens and admire the shop windows. Back when Stadiou, Panepistimiou were streets that everyone had to visit. Back when we went into the shops and saw things that were unique. Back when we used to climb the escalators with our mouths open at all the new and unique things we saw.
Back when Christmas was unique. Once a year. An oasis of celebration in a miserable year. Back when we waited for Christmas to give and receive gifts we couldn’t even dream of all year.
When we went out to sing carols and everyone opened doors for us. Back when if we didn’t knock on a door, it would open by itself and we were told, “You won’t tell us the Christmas carols?”
The house was warm. Dad had gotten a cassette tape of Christmas songs and tunes that he kept playing on the cassette player. What a joy! What a blessing! What happiness!
I remember him pouring some whiskey into the good glass and my mother grumbling about drinking and making it into the good glassware.
And the songs, the warmth, the atmosphere, the smells, the table set, poor yet rich compared to the everyday… Christmas!
I wish you a Merry Christmas!