Today is Orthodox Christmas, so I thought it would be fitting to briefly talk about Tbilisi at Christmastime. We were a bit bummed when planning our failed R&R and then our impromptu trip to Helsinki and Stockholm that we would miss out on the spectacular Christmas season here at home. However, since Georgia is on the Orthodox calendar, we really hadn’t missed anything. Tbilisi’s Christmas market didn’t even open until December 24, and the lights display only went up about two weeks ago. After a few days of recovering from illness and overnight flights, we spent last weekend exploring the downtown Tbilisi winter wonderland.
The Tbilisi Christmas market is relatively small – especially when you compare it to its European counterpoints – but it’s enjoyable nonetheless. Several food vendors selling wine and other hot drinks lined the outside of the stalls, and in the center, there were dozens of craft vendors. This year they had also set up a stage for various performances and interactive musical experiences for children. We enjoyed strolling through the rows of shops and even caught a bit of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation dubbed in Georgian.
Now, in my opinion, the real star of the show in Tbilisi at Christmas is the lights displays. This year Rustaveli Avenue was transformed into a steller show with planets, galaxies, shooting stars, and suns. I love astronomy, so the blend of Christmas with science was right up my alley.
Merry Christmas, Tbilisi. You’ve really outdone yourself this year!