Jubilate ~ a verb; to feel joy or great delight. That is my word for this Christmas in Greece.
|Village Christmas 2020 - Agios Nikolaos|
|Carolers at our taverna table in the village, 2021|
But what made this Christmas special was that we were stirring, if even at a slowed and somewhat sporadic pace!
Jubilate ~ the gift of freedom
|Christmas Syntagma Square Athens, 2019|
This year we have been basking in the gift of freedom, something we had taken for granted up until it was snatched away by Covid prevention restrictions in the early months of 2020 and not returned until late spring this year.
|Christmas Morning 2020 - coffee in the parking lot - Covid lockdown|
Last Christmas was celebrated with all of Greece in lockdown. Lockdown meant that we texted the government for permission to go out for one of six allowed reasons - and didn't leave the house until it was granted (thankfully, it was usually an immediate response).
|Christmas morning, 2021, inside with friends - jubilate|
A year ago, the Christmas morning highlight was drinking a take-away cappuccino in the parking lot at the harbor. This Christmas we joined friends for coffee on the day before Christmas, sitting at tables on the taverna's deck enjoying the winter's sun and youthful carolers (not allowed last year). On Christmas morning we sat inside the gaily decorated taverna and sipped coffee with other friends.
|Paketo Christmas dinner - alone at home - 2020|
Paketo, literally means packed, but became the shortened phrase for 'to go' or 'take out' during lockdown. Our Christmas dinner from a favorite taverna was served paketo, aluminum foil containers in a plastic bag. We ate at home alone - gatherings were discouraged. Vaccines hadn't yet been made available and frankly we feared getting Covid.
|Food, wine, music - Christmas Eve dinner, 2021|
We went out to -- and dined inside -- another favorite taverna this Christmas Eve! We listened to Greek musicians play traditional tunes. Live music, for that matter, all music, was banned in public establishments last year, as it might have caused patrons to linger longer.
|Christmas Eve in Kardamyli - Jubilate - 2021|
Later we sipped a glass of wine sitting at the bar and visiting with our longtime friend who owns it. Last year it was forbidden to sit at any bar so what a treat it was this year to do something as simple as sipping wine sitting at a bar!
The two tavernas in which we celebrated this Christmas Eve are in our neighboring village of Kardamyli, about five miles from our village. Last Christmas we weren't allowed to travel that far from home.
Jubilate ~ Gifts not wrapped
|Jubilate - music inside Christmas Eve|
Inside! What a magic word! Another word and concept we took for granted in our staid American life that we left behind when we chose to try expat life in Greece. No one expected when we made the move, to have the entire world turned upside down by a pandemic. We are still thankful we rode out the initial year here in Greece. It taught us much about appreciating so much of which we previously took for granted both here and in the States.
|Kalamata Christmas carols rang out through the town|
Music! Christmas carols have never sounded as sweet as they did being played from speakers along the pedestrian street in Kalamata (another forbidden destination at this time last year). Or when the school kids came to sing songs to us in the village.
Jubilate - to feel joy or delight - is definitely my word this year.
|Friends on the beach Christmas Morning 2021|
Friends! You don't know how much you miss your friends until you are not allowed to be with them. What a gift it has been to be with people again, laughing, hugging, chatting and getting caught up with each other.
Jubilate ~ Savor The Moment
|The only village decoration, 2021|