CULTURE

Shopping for a good cause at local bazaars

Christmas is the season to be jolly and generous, and one of the best ways to combine relaxed shopping, original, affordable presents and good will in what can be a pleasant family day out, is at bazaars. Handmade crafts, second-hand toys (destined to be smashed by happy toddlers anyway), books and sweets are at the heart of seasonal cheer, and when the proceeds from their sale go to help a good cause, the spirit of giving is complete. Running tomorrow and Sunday at the Eleftherias Park cultural center, is the annual Greek Friends of Animals Society bazaar, whose proceeds support the society’s programs for the country’s countless strays. The St Paul’s Anglican Church bazaar (notable for its ample array of books) will move to the National Gardens on Sunday, setting up its stalls in the elegant Aigli restaurant, while next weekend, the American Women’s Organization of Greece (AWOG) will have a more American feel at their sale in the Ledra Marriott Hotel featuring, among others, a raffle for two return tickets to New York and two to London. Another highlight next weekend is the Girl Scouts of Greece Christmas sale taking place at the National Research Foundation. New features at this annual event are a special booth selling organically produced goods from various regions around the country, as well as special games for children inspired by the skills that scouts are taught. One of the centerpieces of this sale is a lucky charm designed by Antonis Filolias of marble, silver and gold, and a 2003 diary adorned with the theme of women in antiquity and the Olympic Games. Last but not least next weekend is the bazaar of the American Community Schools of Athens, organized by the PTA. This is one of the school’s most popular social events and includes sales of handmade Christmas baubles, a Santa bearing gifts, carol singing, a buffet with specialties from around the world and a raffle.