Happenings

Christmas Thoughts

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Decorating for the holidays doesn’t have to be stressful or difficult to be beautiful. Here, we offer simple yet elegant little touches that you can use to decorate your home for Christmas and make a difference. From making Christmas candy and baking Christmas cookies, to decorating Christmas trees and gift ideas, find what you need to plan a perfect Christmas Decoration.

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  • Start planning your decoration around the element you currently loving, like favourite colours, and build from there. That object or color dictates the whole mood and theme of the table and setting. Don’t hesitate to go beyond the Green and Red (even though they always look beautiful) and explore the festive touches of white, silver and gold.IMG_3542
  • Use your heirlooms – Silverware looks beautiful filled with nuts and makes Christmas decorations extra special. 
  • Aim to update your decor in a way that feels seasonal and festive and add seasonal touches: garlands and wreaths are always fabulous. You can also concentrate on having a variety of beautiful candles or making a wonderful holiday drink based on champagne like the one you can find here.

  • Though it’s about also about creating Instagram-worthy setups, aim to go beyond just the visuals for your decorations. Carefully put together a playlist to set the mood and light a woodsy candle or a roaring fire. Accentuate them with bowls of nuts and baubles to reflect the warm setting.IMG_3547\
  • Continue the tradition of making cookies. When your guests arrive, you can also offer a Christmas Cheese Display, with fresh bread, dried fruits and surrounded by winter flowers.IMG_7458 (2)
  • It’s great to send your guests home with a small gift. For winter parties you can give gingerbread mixes, hot chocolate or mulling spices. It’s a fun activity to wrap the gifts as you’re getting ready for a party, and a way for your guests to take a little piece of the evening home with them making the evening just a bit more special. Make sure to serve something unique and different like these Baked Alaska’s in a lollipop.1
For example, on a professional note, Floris Special Events has created a Christmas Wedding recently in New York. Here are some pictures of the marvellous event

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Thanksgiving 2017

The meaning of Thanksgiving

For many of us, the meaning of Thanksgiving usually involves feasting, four-day weekends, football games, floats, family reunions, or simply being a forerunner to Christmas. The “first Thanksgiving,” however, was neither a feast nor a holiday, but a simple gathering. Following the Mayflower’s arrival at Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1620, the Pilgrims suffered the loss of 46 of their original 102 colonists. With the help of 91 Indians, the remaining Pilgrims survived the bitter winter and yielded a bountiful harvest in 1621. In celebration, a traditional English harvest festival, lasting three days brought the Pilgrims and natives to unite in a “thanksgiving” observance.

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The meaning of Thanksgiving has undergone numerous transitions, but its main pillars are To gather in Unity, to teach the young and to humbly reflect on all the gifts that saturate our lives. By “giving-thanks” we choose to extend ourselves and give to others less fortunate.

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Personal memories

Each Thanksgiving is my favourite Thanksgiving!

I was introduced to Thanksgiving many many years ago, when I first moved to New York and as it happens that it has became my favourite holiday. To this day, it remains my favourite holiday because we all gather around the table – friends and family and people we love and are grateful and thankful of being surrounded by one another.

Thanksgiving Wisdom

Later on, I discovered the Macy’s Day thanksgiving parade and especially enjoyed taking my children, nieces and nephews to the preparation the night before. Having had the blessing of living on Central Park West, it became a tradition of watching the parade from our window.

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My most recent thanksgiving: gathering family and friends in New York. A group of us, cooking and sharing the joy of the day. My best friend is an not only an expert on setting the perfect table, but preparing the traditional Pilgrim’s menu, making the holiday even more special.

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My suggestions

  • Create a family guestlist
  • If you know people people that don’t have family in town or a place to go, make sure to invite them ahead of time so their Thanksgiving plan is secureIMG_3440
  • Plan your table settings and don’t be afraid of having fun! Art de la table in a very festive fun manner is always my choiceIMG_3444
  • Also make sure to have non alcoholic beverages for people that are staying healthy, like this great non alcoholic apple martini. I would also suggest a beautifuly curated cheese platter for your guests to enjoy until everyone arrives.IMG_3445
  • Great display of roasted nuts and turkey feathers IMG_3485
  • Special children’s table with supplies! Crayons and drawing materials are always a huge hit! Children can colour a huge turkey or pumpkin – whoever wins, wins a chocolate turkeyIMG_3442IMG_3438
  • Make sure to have takeaway containers so everybody can go home with the best part of thanksgiving: “leftovers” – they always taste best the next day!IMG_3443

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Any excuse to celebrate!

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Obama’s Visit to Greece; his Outstanding Speech

The last official visit of Barak Obama as president of the United States was to Greece. A visit and an address to the Greek people which will remain memorable if not to the entire world, but surely to both Greeks and Americans alike.

President Obama received a very warm welcome at the Stavros Niarchos foundation where he gave his speech; a speech that inspired me so much and made me feel proud to be Greek. There could not have been a better-chosen person to speak about Greece in these times than the president of the United States himself.

The president opened his speech by stating why he chose Greece to mark the end of his term as president and stated it as follows: “I was determined on my last trip as president to come to Greece, for the Filoxenia (hospitality), the Parthenon, but mainly for Greece’s contribution to humanity”. “We are in debt to the Greeks mainly for the understanding of the right and the capacity to govern ourselves; Democratia.

After a reference to Socrates and Aristotle, the president underlined that the ideals of ancient Greeks are challenged today. Global economy and cultural diversity are 2 things that trouble our world today, and to many people in the world, they seem to be jeopardizing democracy.

Longing to live with dignity is something that all humans want no matter where they come from. The crisis in Greece has both internal and external causes; at the same time, Greeks prove that they have democracy because they opened their heart to all the refugees who arrived, something that inspired the entire world. Still, Greeks shouldn’t carry the burden alone.

He emphasized the following: “I don’t think that people around the world are aware of the sacrifice that the Greek people have made during this time, but I am aware of it, and I am here to underline the good steps that have been made. And help Greece to get back on a sustained economic recovery. People need to see hope, they need to see that there is a future”.

We cannot get 100% of what we want in a democracy because we need to leave room for compromise. We need to see the capacity of others in ourselves. We need both a financial and a cultural structure in today’s world.

President Obama closed his speech with the word “Filotimo”. “I see it every day, and it gives me hope”.

The round of applause was enormous and the inspiration from his speech even greater.

We thank the president for valuing our ideals, our country, and our contribution. He is leaving a unique mark in the books of history.

 

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Being Back Home

In the southern part of Greece, in the Peloponese, lies a traditional village, which even though it stands at an altitude of 950 meters, it is situated on the foothill of beautiful colorful mountain, the Parnon filled with chestnuts and walnuts.

This traditional village has the name of Karyes. Karyes is related to the Caryatids, the young girls of Karyes, which are illustrated in the famous monument in the Erechtheion of the Acropolis.

Karyes is also my hometown, my place of birth.

This year, on the 28th of October, a National Day in Greece, also known as “OXI Day”, being in Karyes brought about an extra sence of pride in being a Karyes girl myself.

The day began with everyone’s presence in church for the mass followed by a doxology or a praising the Lord prayer.

The children, all 15 of them, dressed up for the parade to honor the flag and recite the parralel poetry fit to praise the day.

As known Greek tradition goes, lunch was cooked and served for everyone in the square of the village, an event that filled us all with the sence of celebration, unity, sharing, and caring. The plate of the day: cooked goat, a traditional dish that fits the Autumn season. Of course, after food comes dancing, an important part of the celebration.

But what really makes it home is the home itself. Our house in Karyes was build 50 years ago as a traditional house of Karyes. One year ago, my daughter Vivia decided to renovate this house, the Floreico house as we call it. Her grandparents, my parents, never left this house. Thrilled with the renovation they helped in keeping all the details that grandpa, or “pappou” has put in it that mark his style and his life there with grandma or “giagia”.

I feel quite blessed that they are there where they feel that they belong and where I feel will always be home.

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Matrona’s festival, Santorini

The place, mesmerizing Santorini. The setting, delightful Village of Foinikia. The occasion, unique Matrona Festival. The people, new and old wonderful friends. The food, local mouth watering specialties, feasting on bakaliaros xelouristos (specially made bass) and fava beans. In magical October coloured by Santorini’s own, romantic and enchanting sunsets.

I was fortunate to be met with a great and delightful surprise while visiting the alluring Santorini when I coincided with the original Panigiri (Festival) dedicated to the Panagia Matrona celebrated in the island every October in the village of Foinikia.

It was everywhere. The streets, the squares, the cafes, the welcoming smiles and eyes of the locals opening homes and hearts in joy and pleasure to serve and include their guests in their preparation meals and the bustling atmosphere of their panigiri.

Authentic and joyous, an experience to be kept in the heart. Enjoy!!

 

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Fava beans, the other thing that Santorini is famous for! After 3600 years of cultivation in the volcanic soil of the island, fava beans from Santorini have recently been added to the EU’s list of Protected Designation of Origin products!

Taste and find out why Santorini fava beans are the best!

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