As you know, Christmas is not celebrated in Turkey. However, Christmas trees, lights, and carols are popping up every where. Even on the TV commercials. Turks have adapted the Christmas holiday as a New Years’ celebration. “Christmas” gifts are even becoming popular for the New Year’s holiday.
As an expatriate, I have learned to adapt to many different things. I have also trained myself to think outside of the box, substituting one thing for something else. But the other day, when my husband surprised me by wrapping Christmas lights around my Dracaena Corn Plant, I had to rethink this whole Christmas thing. Was it actually time for me to break down and buy an artificial tree??? Shivers. After trying to hang a few ornaments on it, I knew it was time to at least look for an alternative.
We headed out in search of a tree. Unfortunately, the places we looked were all closed on Sunday. So I will let you know what my future holds.
For now, here are places where you can find trees . . . just in case you are in Ankara.Remember that you won’t find live cut trees here. There are no Christmas tree farms. But you may find something suitable in a pot or burlap root ball. Please DO NOT GO OUT AND CUT A LIVE TREE! It’s hard enough for those poor saplings to survive the dry summers.
Artificial trees: Bauhaus, Koçtaş, most likely Praktiker too. Tchibo – the coffee shop in CEPA mall or Anka mall might have them. You definitely can order from them online. They also have little ones at Japon Pazari and other small dollar-like stores.
Live trees: Information I have obtained from friends includes
1. on the way to Morgan Park (Golbasi lake), there are 2 or 3 green houses which sell Christmas trees in a pot (last year the 50 cm tree was about 20-25 liras).
2. Esenboga Cicekcilik or Fidancilik on the MAN side of Protokolyolu (the airport road).
3. PARTİ DÜNYASI (PARTY WORLD) – Ankara Bayisi, www.PartiDunyasi.com, ODEON SANAT AKADEMİSİ, Ümitköy 1.Cd. No:20, Tel: 312 235 3797
4. I checked the places in Ulus in the shopping area near the bottom of the hill of the Old City area (where the castle is.) There is a road with nothing but outdoor plant shops. Some of them have some decent trees. Unfortunately, they were all closed on Sunday, so I can’t confirm any prices. But I will probably be going back!
Christmas Decorations: Party World says they have them. REAL market near Bilkent definitely has lights and ornaments. Japon Pazari has a limited selection too. Tchibo has a very limited selection which includes a decent treetop star in gold or silver. I’m sure lots of places in the malls wills start selling things.
The problem with lights and decorations is that the Turks are definitely playing on the New Years/Mardi Gras theme. Last night I saw lots of feathers, bright flourescent colors, and strings of lights with hearts – which the sales guy considered the “plain lights”. So far, Japon Pazari has the cheapest lights – colored only. White lights all seem to be LED which are much more expensive.
That’s all I have for now! Happy shopping and decorating! I’ll update with more information as I get it, including the name of the street in Ulus with the trees.
UPDATE: Check the comments for updates to this post!!! And thanks to my readers for the added information!
Praktiker has the trees, lights and loads of decos too… And in REAL they even have Christmas cookie mix complete with cutter and icing… also, there are little icing pens there too for decorating your cookies.
I can confirm that Japon Pazari (at least on Guvenlik Cad.) has many ornaments in bright and bold colors… balls, santas, tiny packages, snow men, bells. Kind of gaudy, but they work. Most items are 1.50 to 2 TL. The colored lights are 2TL. They also have the light nets that go drape over bushes.
The location near Ulus is Bentderesi Cad. The google map link is below. Cut and paste it into your browser. I went back today, and only one shop was open. The salesman was not around, so we had to call him. All of the nurseries have signs with their phone numbers, so if you see something you like from outside of the gates, you can call the shop owner. We ended up with a nice little Spruce. It’s only about 4-5 feet tall in a big black pot. But it’s nice and full! He wanted 80 TL. We only paid 40 TL.
Bauhaus, Mudo and Boyner both have lots of nice things as well.
Boyner and Mudo are a little fancier with lots of nice decorations.
And this from another Ankara expat: when I first came to live in Ankara (about 10 years ago) I found it not so obvious to find a X-mas tree and decorations in Ankara, and I then purchased a second hand one from my former ‘boss’. But in the years following I found X-mas decorations where indeed getting more introduced in Turkish life as New-year theme decorations. And personally I’ve seen so many atrificial trees of different size and colour, and really plenty of traditional X-mas style decoration and -lights available in many local stores, such as many supermarkets (even Gimsa has them which is known as quite a ‘traditional-oriented’ store!), and deco-shops as Mudo and Tepe Home, and X-mas tree-lights you may even find in some illumination stores where they sell all kinds of lamps/light decoration (or what do you call those?).
And if you do not find what you’re looking for, it’s indeed possible to make your own decorations or substitute another plant or object for a traditional X-mas tree :-).
I know some people in Belgium have been moving away from traditional (live and artificial) trees to no tree or trees’ made out of twigs or metal/light constructions and the like for a more ‘contemporary’ look, and what you find in stores is following this trend, too (e.g. much less real trees, or typical green/red decorations).
They have a great ornament and lights selection at many Migros stores, where they also have relatively cheap artificial trees! Happy Holidays….
If you have a Kipa near you they normally have Christmas stuff around now . They have trees and lights and last year they had these lovely little glass tea light holders in gold and red and silver which are very festive. They also normally have Turkey’s on Christmas Eve, but I’m off to Samos to buy mine tomorrow 🙂 K xxx
Thanks to everybody that responded. They all were very helpfull:)
Just to let you know, this sunday me and my daughter bought a really nice tree from Koctas for 159TL. It is vert nice, I think almost 7 feet. We loved it and waiting for Santa to come:)