This year’s Christmas celebrations in Athens will kick off on December 16, involving concerts, bazaars and a party on New Year’s Eve in Kotzia Square, Mayor Dora Bakoyannis said yesterday. An open-air ice-skating rink will provide an exotic touch outside Zappeion Hall. The change in the party venue – from Syntagma Square – was decided to ease bottlenecks in the permanently congested capital, Bakoyannis told a press conference, adding that past events were sparsely attended. Syntagma Square will remain the site of the city’s main Christmas tree, to be lit on December 16, and will also host a number of prefabricated shops selling sweets, as well as a merry-go-round. A second merry-go-round will be set up in Kotzia Square. There will be no charge for use of the rink or the merry-go-rounds. The entire program of events will cost 1.5 million euros.