Guide to SKOPJE

A Christmas Factory in Athens for the children


Athens is a city that likes to celebrate the Christmas holidays with families and children via outings around town in an atmosphere of joy and fun. In our times of severe financial stress we have seen numerous citizens’ initiatives enhancing social solidarity all year-round. Particularly though for this Christmas, it is worth noting that the AthensMunicipality thought for the first time of combining traditional holiday merriness with sensitivity for the social problems and the environment.

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The aim is to provide affordable access to simply have fun in the city as tradition requires (a need most prevalent in difficult times) as well as contribute to social solidarity actions and educate children using play, imagination and participation.

From 6 December 2013 until 6 January 2014 in the Technopolis municipal cultural space (ex-Gas Factory, in Gazi area) young and old(er) are invited to visit The Christmas Factory and celebrate in a merry atmosphere with games and activities organized around the children.

Activities will take place every day (10:00 – 22:00). By a low-cost entrance ticket participation in all activities will be unlimited and free.

athensholidays2A series of educational and fun workshops await the kids that want to meet Santa in person (they always do!), receive a present and explore Santa’s own workshop. There they can learn how to make toys of wood (which they can of course keep) and participate in the making of a huge table game of carton, destined to be played by them under their own rules and receiving their corresponding presents…

“Kalikantzari” (the seasonal malevolent elves) possess face-paint in order to smudge them…in an artistic way (in the face-painting workshop). Some kids would like to seek their talent into traditional holiday pastry-making in the candy-making workshop or in the “sugary-magic” workshop, where they can learn to perform magical tricks using pastry-making materials.

All the time there will be a special internet TV space where children can send out their wishes around the world.

Also, interactive and multimedia exhibitions will be operating in Technopolis, such as the Ancient Greek Technology Museum with 50 interesting mechanical exhibits (original and copies) and the Antique Toys exhibition from a collection that numbers thousands of exhibits, displaying toys from various eras and civilizations of the world.


A specially-organised solidarity bazaar will be accepting (good-conditioned) toys, books or clothes to be sent to less-privileged families in an action coordinated by Floga charity for children and the S.O.S. Villages Greece. In contrast to expensive artificial trees (a controversial issue for years in decorating Athens), this time Technopolis will be decorated with 500 natural Christmas trees that will be re-planted in designated reforestation areas in a nearby mountain of Attica at the end of the holiday activities.

Of course, as this trend has gained considerable grounds all over Greece, there will be the much-awaited ice-skating rings (for grown-ups, young and very young) and a large carrousel, as well as candies, roasted chestnuts and snacks (and mulled wine for the grown-ups). Visitors can tour around the happenings using an eco-train.

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So if you decide to stroll down to Gazi this year, know that kids will be at the centre of attention – but as the organizers declare, the activities are destined to all those that “still feel like children”! Every day, the program includes musical shows, concerts of modern greek music, jazz, rock and classical music, theatre performances, puppet and shadow-theatre, street theatre, juggling, clown and magicians’ performances.  A chance for all to enjoy!


Sophia Nikolaou