Reuters

Gift purchases are dow n, Christmas lights are dim, and families are suffering.

The euro zone debt crisis has put a damper on this festive time of year in southern Europe. In Greece, families say they're turning off the heat and skipping meat at Christmas dinner. Lisboners will be cutting back on gifts (one cleaning lady told Reuters she will only give "bare necessities"). And Italian civil servant Nadia di Santo, 38, told the outlet:

"I am buying no gifts this year. None, except for the children. Last year I bought presents for everyone, friends and family ... I have put up the tree, although I am using the same decorations as last year. I will sort something out for Christmas dinner."

Shop owners haven't been spared. Many report a steep drop in sales, along with unusually quiet storefronts. "We were selling three times as much this time last year," butcher Jesus Cerelo told Reuters.

Things are worst in Greece. According to one resident:

"Family is very important to us Greeks so the worst thing is when you are not able to provide for them," said 70-year-old pensioner Nikos Tsakos. Two of his three children, in their 30s and 40s, are out of work and he has two small granddaughters.

"Sometimes my wife and I cry when we realise we will not be able to buy the girls toys this year ... we cut back on everything - decorations, food. How can you celebrate when things are so bad?"

A woman browses through Christmas items on sale at a toy store in Madrid. (Susana Vera/Reuters)
A man walks past a discount toy store during Christmas shopping season in Madrid. (Reuters)



People pass by a stand with signs displaying low prices in a market on Palma de Mallorca on the Spanish Balearic island of Mallorca. (Enrique Calvo/Reuters)

People eat pasta at a soup kitchen in a small square at Keratsini suburb, west of Athens. (Yorgos Karahalis/Reuters)

 

A woman leaves a shoe store in Madrid December. Banner reads "Clearance sale. Last Days. Shoes 1euro". (Sergio Perez/Reuters)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: Police line up outside the White House in Washington, D.C. as protests against the killing of George Floyd continue.
    Perspective

    America’s Cities Were Designed to Oppress

    Architects and planners have an obligation to protect health, safety and welfare through the spaces we design. As the George Floyd protests reveal, we’ve failed.

  2. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  3. Equity

    What Happened to Crime in Camden?

    Often ranked as one of the deadliest cities in America, Camden, New Jersey, ended 2017 with its lowest homicide rate since the 1980s.

  4. A participant holding a Defund Police sign at the protest in Brooklyn.
    Equity

    To Defund the Police, Activists Rewrote City Budgets

    As national protesters call for defunding police, a movement for anti-racist “people’s budgets” is spreading from LA to Nashville to Grand Rapids.

  5. Equity

    The Problem With Research on Racial Bias and Police Shootings

    Despite new research on police brutality, we still have no idea whether violence toward African Americans is fueled by racial prejudice. That has consequences.

×