CULTURE

Christmas bazaars: Seasonal favorites for a variety of good causes

One of the great attractions of Christmas bazaars is the special cause each is dedicated to. Donating to a good cause by buying a gift from those collected by the organizers who have summoned up all their good taste and imagination in the spirit of the season. Another draw is the atmosphere, for among the decorations, balloons, stars and Christmas trees, no one is alone. All the «salespeople» are friends, smiling a welcome at each stand, helping us make purchases that will help someone in greater need. The beginning of December heralds a stream of invitations to a number of different bazaars. The Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage has a paper boat on its invitation to its bazaar, which began Thursday and ends tomorrow (open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.). Books, objets d’art, the traditional Greek Christmas boats, a large collection of aromatic candles, beautiful textiles and silk scarves were the highlights of their bazaar last year. This year’s was organized by Fofi Neofytou, with the help of Loula Kertsikof and artistic advisers Hilary Sakellariadi and Eleni Filonos. Madame Magda will be preparing her well-known specialities. Meanwhile the Society has decided to combine sport and sociability on the last day of the bazaar tomorrow for all Athenians who would like to join Greece’s Olympic gold medalist Athanassia Tsoumeleka in a walk along Dionysiou Areopagitou Street at the foot of the Acropolis (for further information call 210.322.5245). Also this weekend is the «Arogi» bazaar, the charity which funds a center for the disabled, from 10.30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the «Stathmos,» on the corner of Mystra and Plataion streets in the Boskiza district of Acharnes. The bazaar is held under the aegis of the local mayor and all proceeds will go to the center and the children who visit it. There will be entertainment and several surprises (for further details telephone 210.240.4444). This weekend and next, the Elpida Association of Friends of Children with Cancer is holding a «Bazart» in its new building at 10 Pindarou in Kolonaki, with Christmas gifts and decorations, objects inspired by children’s games, jewels and works of art, all at special prices. The Bazart will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Shades of Smyrna will be the theme of the bazaar held by the board of the Smyrna Union at its headquarters on the third floor at 3 Karytsi, on Saturday, December 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, December 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On offer will be traditional Christmas sweets such as melomakarona, tsourekia, koulouria, new and old books on life in Asia Minor, hand embroideries, candles and, above all, a «warm Smyrna atmosphere,» according to the invitation. (For details, call Mary Foteinou at 210.671.7682.) We wish the organizers of all the bazaars good luck. Visitors, don’t forget to take your children and your friends with you.