It’s the most joyous time of the year; the time has come to cozy up in front of a fire, decorate the Christmas tree (although many Greeks opt for the tradition of decorating boats – real or model), throw our diet plans into the shredder and eat our weight in cookies, sing along to the holiday songs we love to hate, and, of course, to shop.
Christmas shopping in Athens can be overwhelming. The city is large, with plenty of areas full of outlets, and several large malls.
To help you steer away from the chain stores, and find some unique presents to bring home that don’t look like you picked them up in your own city or at the airport, every year, we create a wish list full of items made in Greece that we would love to find in our stockings. Of course, you could also order most of them online.
This year, our list features everything from accessories, to home design items, to cosmetics. As always, it also contains a few lucky charms, which are traditionally gifted at the end of the year in Greece to bring good fortune, prosperity, and health in the next.
The Acropolis Museum’s lucky charm for 2020
The Acropolis Museum’s charm for 2020 is a bronze tortoise designed by Margarita Myrogianni, inspired by a 3rd-1st c. BC lead tortoise, which is on display at the museum’s Gallery of the Slopes. In ancient times, the tortoise was believed to shield you from the evil eye, and its blood was taken as an antidote to poison.
Find it at the museum gift shop at 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, in central Athens.
Waks Chios mandarine & orange blossom candles in limited edition ceramics
These limited-edition candles from Waks were inspired by the island of Chios. Smelling wonderfully of winter fruits (the white candle of mandarine and the black candle of orange blossom) that grow in the island’s famed orchards, they’re held in stylish ceramic containers designed by artist Christina Morali with patterns that reflect the geometric patterns found in the architecture of the island’s villages.
Find them here.
Joan Leigh Fermor “Patrick Leigh Fermor” print
Joan Leigh-Fermor’s 1951 photograph of her husband, Patrick Leigh Fermor, in their beloved Greece was displayed at the Benaki Museum this year as part of the exhibition “Joan Leigh Fermor. Artist and lover”. 30 numbered copies were made for the museum gift shop. (It also offers many other prints for purchase from noted photographers capturing life in Greece in times past).
Find it at the museum gift shop at Kriezotou 3, Kolonaki, Athens, or here.
Ruby Charm by Christina Soubli
Christina Soubli’s charm for the new year features 9k gold and a natural ruby, symbolizing passion, energy and love – things we all wish for in the coming year. Circling the number 20 (for 2020), is a ring made with the designer’s signature filigree technique.
Find it here.
Christina sandals from Ancient Greek Sandals
Leather sandals are a favorite item to purchase while in Greece. The trendy “Christina” sandals from Ancient Greek Sandals, made from chemical-free natural leather, will make anyone who receives them dream of summer.
Find them at the company’s flagship store at 1 Kolokotroni Street, in central Athens, or here.
Athens Metro Plan mug
The metro system in Athens is more than just an urban necessity. At the stations, you’ll discover little-known yet interesting ancient relics. As new stations are currently under construction, a handmade stoneware mug featuring this version of the metro plan could soon be hard to come by.
Find it at Forget Me Not, at 100 Andrianou Street, in central Athens, or here.
Box of Chocolates from The Dark Side of Chocolate
What could be a more appreciated gift for chocolate lovers (i.e. everyone) than handmade chocolates with unusual fillings, wrapped up in a pretty box? Current flavors we love are basil, as well as bergamot and olive oil from the Peloponnese.
Find them at the Dark Side of Chocolate, at 49 Solonos, in Kolonaki, Athens.
Korres Golden Krocus Ageless Saffron Elixir Serum
A serum suitable for everyone, this product from Korres is made with some of the best quality organic saffron in the world, picked around the town of Kozani once a year, and immediately processed to keep antioxidant levels high. The company promises it will repair signs of aging. Now available in luxurious limited-edition packaging.
Find it at Korres Natural Products, on 4 Ermou Street by Syntagma Square in Athens.
Black-Eyed Bean 2020 charm from Out of M.E.
This dainty lucky charm, by design brand Out of M.E, features a black-eyed bean, said to protect its owner from the evil eye. Get it in silver, gold-plated silver, or rose gold.
Find it here.
Fresh Rise silk scarf from A Totem Für Elita
Each scarf from A Totem Für Elita, made with 100% Greek silk and designed by artist Loula Levedi, is inspired by mythology, Greek culture and historical events, yet the result is modern and colorful. The Fresh Rise design is inspired by the story of Atlantis.
Find it at the i-D Concept Stores, at 12 Kanari & Sekeri Street, Kolonaki, in Athens.
Flexbook Agenda for the Basil & Elise Goulandris Museum
Said to be indestructible, Flexbook’s notebooks and agendas are the traveling note-takers best friends; throw them in your bag, fold them the “wrong way” – it’s ok. These special edition flexbooks made for the newly opened Basil & Elise Goulandris Museum feature covers depicting some of the museum’s artwork.
Find them at the museum gift shop, at 13 Eratosthenous Street in Pangrati, Athens.
Sustainable Owl Ornament from Thela
Sewn from upcycled plastic bags, these sustainable owl ornaments look as cute in a Christmas tree as they do attached to your bag or keychain all year round.
Find them here.
Feta Pin from Lila Ruby King
Lila Ruby King’s illustrations depict iconic Greek items such as temples, donkeys, olive oil and feta in a charming new light. Gift this feta pin in hard enamel to anyone who loves Greece, cheese, and whimsical colors.
Find it here.
Origami steel cat wall decoration from A Future Perfect & Friends
To your friend who always tries to bring all the stray cats home from Greece, this gift is better than a Greek Cats calendar. Available in black and blue, this laser-cut painted steel decoration will look good in any home.
Find it at A Future Perfect & Friends design store on 23 Praxitelous Street in Athens, or here.
James Backpack from 3Quarters
Handmade from leftover and used awning fabrics from Athenian balconies, each bag from zero waste company 3Quarters is limited-edition or unique, as patterns and colors depend on what is available to the designers. Their backpack, James, is a modern, waterproof backpack with a padded laptop sleeve.
Find it at 19 Aghiou Dimitriou street in Psyrri, in Athens, or here.