Country Christmas Tree Lighting

by Catherine Tsounis

When one is in rural America at Christmas time, one glimpses into the past. The crisp, cold, country air, quiet atmosphere makes one remember an era that is gone in one's life. Escaping from Macy's, Target, crowded Christmas concerts and parties, was my way of sharing in a unique Greek Orthodox Christmas ritual: the Christmas Tree lightning at the Kimisis tis Theotokou Church of the Hamptons.
We have been working on a Christmas Tree lightning with Father Alex for four to five years," said Dimitrios Hatgistavrou, President of the Parish Council. "This year we are going to have the lightning of the tree with remote control. Rose and Teddy Vellis of Revco made this possible. The highlight of our Christmas season is this event. We thank all who have worked to make this possible."

Pres. Dimitrios Hatgistavrou surrounded
by members of the community.

A family dinner followed in the church hall. When one entered, one heard Christmas carols, children laughing while decorating gingerbread cookies. Closeness and warmth by senior citizens, middle age adults and youth infused the room. "Please celebrate holy days-not hollow days," said Father Alex Karloutstos. "Presvitera Xanthi, Father Constantine and Anastasia join me in wishing you and yours a Blessed and Merry Christmas." A Christmas Pageant will be presented on Sunday, December 24th followed by a Christmas party for all. The Kimisis Church is located at 111 St. Andrew's Road, Southampton, NY 11968. For more information, call 631 283-6169 or visit

Above: Father Alex Karloutsos welcoming all to his
Christmas Party; right: Gabriela Gavalas showing
her gingerbread creations with a big smile as
Chloe and Artemios Gavalas look on.

(Posting date 20 January 2007

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