The Nativity scene in Kalyves in the town square

It’s a lovely part of Christmas – nativity scenes in Crete, that each of the villages sets out a nativity scene.

Nativity scenes in nearby villages

Normally in the central square, usually opposite the village kafenion, Joseph and Mary are standing under a tent,

Just the three of us! Simple nativity at Stylos

with the babe in a cradle, with shepherds and sometimes graced by the presence of wise men! 

Definitely a crowd with wise men and other hangers on at Armenoi.

At Armenoi, set opposite the kafenion and next door to the famous White Boots Butcher, we think there is a donkey there amidst the sheep surrounding the crib!

The proud parents, and sheep aglow at Neo Chorio

Here there are angels, cast ephemerally in the shadows

Right under the star, with angels in attendance, 2017

We’ve loved, over the years, collecting pictures of these in our local villages.

Before the days of illuminated figures, at Kaina in 2013
The donkey (or is it a horse) has stolen centre stage at Kaina in 2018!

These days they are normally aglow with inner light! Sometimes a bit more two dimensional, but all created and presented with love.

Not room for the camel and bullock, its a real home full! This is Thronos in the Amari valley, this year

Christmas decoration traditions in Greece

Apart from the Christmas nativity scenes in Crete, there?s a tradition of sailing boat decorations in Greece.

Sailing Boat in Elefteria Square, Chania

A debate rages over whether this is the traditional emblem, supplanted by the “foreign” Christmas tree, which came with the Bavarian King Otto in 1833.

Christmas tree in front of the Agora, Chania

There is evidence that Christwood, the decorating of houses with fronds from evergreen trees dates back to at least Byzantine times, and there are plenty of firs, particularly in the northern Greek mainland.

Saling boat in front of Chania Cathedral

But maybe best is to take the route of Thessaloniki, and have both Christmas tree and sailing boat!? Both when decorated are very festive, and whichever is a lovely tradition.

And if all else fails, there are always angels

Chania at Christmas is a feast of illuminations

Angels dancing, Elefteria Square, Chania
Christmas trees on one of the main streets
Stars and Trees in Chania
There’s everything in Elefteria Square in Chania!

More about living in Crete

There is much more in our blogs. These show things to do in Crete, whether it be walking a gorge, hiking in the foothills of the White Mountains, or taking a drive to see the sites.  Chania is a great town to visit, particularly to go to the street markets, and of course you’ll want to get the benefits of the Cretan diet – be it the yoghurt and cheese, or the olive oil.

This Dream Villa

And if you would like to live in a place where you can see these, here is just the place. This is a dream villa which we designed and built 10 years ago and now reluctantly are ready to sell and move on. Its in the Apokoronas, in the west of the island, 35min drive from Chania, 55min from the international airport.

Villa with the White Mountains behind