’Tis the season to reach for the credit card

Christmas time is associated with the dream of a brighter, better world, a time of love and peace, of good defeating evil, the holiday spirit chasing out the daily grind. Everyone likes a festive atmosphere, bright lights, decorations, the aroma of food, and voices raised in song, especially on Christmas and New Year’s eves, whether at home with family and friends or out on the town. There are a number of alternatives, but the final choice will be largely determined by how deep one wants to dig into one’s pocket. Restaurants, tavernas and hotels are all adapting their menus – and their prices – accordingly. Entry into a nightclub on Christmas or New Year’s Eve is from 20 percent to 50 percent more expensive than on other nights. The meal also costs considerably more, as it includes not only a dose of the «Christmas spirit» but a more impressive setting. The cost of living may have skyrocketed, but judging from the bookings at Athens’s clubs and restaurants, people don’t want to forgo their New Year revelry. The question is not whether they will go out but where. Hotels are offering two- and three-day packages and the casinos have booked top singing stars. The cost of a night out at major hotels, popular at this time of year with family groups, is not negligible. Divani Caravel: Here the price is 130 euros for a family room and breakfast for a couple and up to two children and 300 euros for a suite. The evening entertainment is extra, but here there is some choice. Christmas Eve dinner comes to 90 euros per person, to the accompaniment of a piano and singer. The meal includes artichokes, shrimp and lobster, chicken fillets with traditional stuffing, coffee and the Greek Christmas sweets, melomacarona and kourabiedes. For New Year’s Eve, the cost is 110 euros per person, or, in another hall, 100 euros per adult and 70 euros for children. Grande Bretagne: Christmas Eve dinner, including drinks, is on offer for 115 euros per person and 60 euros for children under 12. New Year’s Eve dinner costs 250 euros per person. An overnight stay costs 270 euros for an ordinary double room and 300 euros for a suite. Metropolitan: The Christmas Eve program has a festive menu and a band playing Greek and foreign hits, all for 85 euros per person, not including the wine. The evening’s entertainment begins at 10 p.m. but there is a «curfew» at 4 a.m. The hotel is also offering a package, including a festive menu with a duo singing Greek and foreign songs for about 60 euros per person without wine, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. For New Year’s Eve, the prices, at 110 and 70 euros respectively, are slightly higher.