As I begin to write gift lists for the upcoming holidays, I thought it would make sense to write a Greek gift guide. You can use it to find gifts for those in your life who love Greece, have traveled to Greece or plan to visit the country.
Here are the categories of gifts you can browse:
- Greece travel-related gifts
- Greece books (photo books, fiction, non-fiction, etc.)
- Movies/DVDs shot in Greece
- Greek music
- Gifts to help you learn the Greek language
- Random Greek-themed gifts
Lonely Planet Greek Islands (Regional Travel Guide) : this is an excellent gift for those who plan a vacation in Greece. This updated edition offers accurate, practical and updated advice from experts who have been to Greece.
Moleskine City Notebooks : the series includes the Moleskine City Notebook Athina and is an excellent journal for those who’ve been to Athens and want to create their own travel guidebook. It includes the map of the metro system and the list of stations.
Lambsios: Ios seen through my iPhone : in this book, Lambi shows a side of a small Greek island in the Cyclade that a traditional guide won’t ever show you. It is a very personal account why she loves Ios and the views of the island. The book will appeal to all those who have visited the island but also to those who plan to visit it. It is a great gift for anyone who plans a visit to Greek and Ios in the near future. The book costs €23.35.
Nikos Kazantzakis – Zorba the Greek : it is a tale of a young intellectual who ventures to escape his life with the help of Alexis Zorba. The book opens in a café in Piraeus and then the action is moved to Crete. Eventually, the narrator (the young intellectual) returns to the mainland , having the sense that he is needed somewhere else.
Louis de Bernieres – Corelli’s Mandolin: A Novel : it is a story of the island of Cephallonia, which finds itself in the middle of the World War II. Pelagia, a beautiful local girl, is caught between two suitors: Mandras, the local fisherman, and charming, mandolin-playing Captain Corelli, an officer from the Italian garrison on the island. The novel is passionate love story set on the beautiful Greek islands.
Crete – A Notebook: In 1982, the English journalist Richard Clark went to Crete to work as a teacher. He fell in love with Crete and later came back as often as possible. The book is a series of snapshots of his experiences on the island. It’s not a travel guide but it can be a nice companion on your journey.
Meze: Small Bites Big Flavors from the Greek Table : the reader can learn how to prepare the meze and you’ll definitely be the talk of all the parties you’ll attend or host from now on. You also learn to slow down and enjoy the food made from simple, Mediterranean ingredients. The book comprises 65 recipes. It’s a lovely gift for those passionate about cooking.
Region Greek Cooking : is a book for those who already known some about the Greek cuisine. They will find even more ideas to cook dishes using spices little known to the mainstream consumers.
Greek (Modern), Conversational: Learn to Speak and Understand Modern Greek with Pimsleur Language Programs (includes a CD) : Greek is spoken in Greece and also in Cyprus, but it’s not an easy language to learn. First of all, you have to tackle a new alphabet. But when lessons are thought in the right way, it’s impossible not to learn at least some basic Greek. It is an excellent gift for those who plan to visit Greece and also for those who are passionate about foreign languages.
Read ; Speak Greek for Beginners (Book w/Audio CD): The Easiest Way to Communicate Right Away! : this book explains sentence structures for every day use and teaches the basic vocabulary. Learning Greek can be fun and not intimidating. By the time you’ve read the book, you should be able to introduce yourself, ask for directions, describe what you do and ask where things are located…all this in Greek. It’s an excellent gift for those who plan to travel to Greek and want to use the local language.
Oxford Take Off In Greek : this is a book I actually own and is very easy to understand. It comprises lessons, exercises and audio CDs. It’s fun and interesting to learn Greek following the dialogues. It’s definitely a good choice as gift for someone who plans to travel to Greek or is passionate about learning foreign languages.
Mamma Mia! The Movie (Widescreen) : this is the ideal gift for anyone who loves musicals, ABBA and Greece…not particularly in this order, though. Add Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan to the mix and there’s one movie which can keep you occupied for a few hours.
Zorba the Greek : staying true to the book on which is based, the plot revolved around the Greek peasant Zorba (Anthony Quinn) who teaches the young Brit Basil the facts of life. The soundtrack is also legendary and is composed by Mikis Theadorakis.
For Your Eyes Only : this is yet another movie from the James Bond series, with Roger Moore playing the lead. Bond is sent to recover a communication device but the Russians are on his track. Part of the action takes place in Greece. It’s a good gift choice for someone passionate about spy movies, the James Bond series or Roger Moore.
The Bourne Identity (Widescreen Extended Edition) : An American who has mysterious violent skills (Matt Damon) and a European vagabond (Franka Potente), race across Europe to escape the forces which want to kill them. It can be a good gift for someone who collects Matt Damon movies.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin : the film doesn’t stay true to the book, so those who read the book might be a bit sad (or surprised). Still, it’s a good adaptation and preserves the novel’s flavor. The action is set on the Greek island of Cephallonia and begins in 1940 when the Italians occupied the island. Captain Corelli (Nicolas Cage) is instantly drawn to Pelagia (Penélope Cruz), although she’s already engaged to Mandras (Christian Bale). It’s a lovely story which threatens to have a tragic end. The movie is a good choice for a gift for someone who has read the book and likes love stories. Also, both Cage and Cruz fans will love it.
Shirley Valentine : it is considered one of the best movies made which explores the human heart. Shirley, now a 42 year old British housewife , finds herself in Greece, during a vacation, when she finds excitement in life and love again. It’s a fun, witty and sentimental movie which surely raises some questions whether we all made the right decisions in life.
Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (Special Collector’s Edition) : those who love the video game, will also appreciate this movie filled with Angelina Jolie in the middle of action. Exotic locations are added in the mix so the guys will stay glued to the screen while watching it.
Demis Roussos: Forever & Ever – 40 Greatest Hits : he is one of the best known Greek singers. He has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. One of his best known songs is “Good bye, my love, good bye”.
Nana Mouskouri: Falling in Love Again – Great Songs From Movies : Nana is born in Chania, Crete and she has sold about 300 million records worldwide.
Despina Vandi: Greatest Hits 2001-2009: Deluxe Edition (download Mp3 Album): she is the first Greek singer with a #1 n Billboard Dance Charts USA. In 2002 she won the World Music Award.
Traditional Songs & Dances of Greece : for anyone passionate about the Greek music and dances, this is the perfect gift. It will also spark some memories if you’ve been to a Greek taverna and saw some live dances.
Olive Oil Soap : olive oil is used not only for salads, but also for medical and cosmetic purpose. The soap forms a protective film which keeps the hands hydrated.
Note: the article was first published in November 2011 and republished, with edits, in November 2012.