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Athens: Christmas cheer - on a budget

Athens: Christmas cheer - on a budget
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It is Christmas – a time for cheer even in austerity-hit Athens where residents have been enjoying the switching on of the festive lights.

The City has reined back seasonal spending amid Greece’s economic woes but die-hard revellers are determined to have a good time.

“People want a nice warm Christmas,” said one woman in the capital, Anastasia Stroubi. “We are trying to ignore our problems as much as we can during the holidays.”

But, out of work for over a year, another person interviewed on the streets of Athens, Vangelis Ksanthis, is short on Yuletide cheer. “We will be forced to get into the spirit but there is no mood for it,” he said.

The municipality says it has cut the cost of its festivities to a record minimum.

The Greek parliament, meanwhile, is already thinking of the New Year. It has backed a 2012 budget packed with more belt-tightening measures.