High Cost of Traditional Christmas Sweets in Greece Puts Holiday Treats Out of Reach

20231224 092249

The cost of traditional Christmas sweets in Greece, made with icing sugar, honey, and powdered almonds, has risen, making them less affordable for consumers.

Prices for these delicacies have increased by seven to 10 percent, adding to the overall cost-of-living crisis in the country. As a result, it remains uncertain whether consumers will be able to buy these sweets this year. Popular pastry shops, like Hatzis in Athens, have seen a decrease in customers due to the high prices, with a box of almond biscuits costing nearly 24 euros ($26) per kilo.

The situation is similar in Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city, where the city market is experiencing low demand for nuts. In previous years, the market would be crowded, but this year, sales have slowed down significantly. Petros Elmaliotis, a vendor at the market, noted that there used to be six people serving customers, but now there are only two. People are cutting back on non-essential items, which is impacting sales. In November, the annual inflation rate dropped to 3 percent, compared to the average 9.65 percent increase for 2022.

Although Greece's economy seems to be thriving on the surface, there are underlying issues that remain. The country has received significant financial assistance, but the weaknesses in the Greek economy are still evident. Public debt remains high at 160 percent of national output, salaries are lower than the European average, and prices in Greece are 5.5 percent higher than the European Union average. Basic products like milk, cheese, and eggs are nearly 39 percent more expensive in Greece compared to the European average. The majority of Greeks are concerned about inflation and feel that the government is more focused on attracting investors rather than addressing poverty. Opposition parties have criticized the government's policies, citing low wages and high living costs as significant issues for the majority of Greek citizens.

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