Westerners and Catholics living in Greece followed the western Gregorian calendar, celebrating Christmas on December 25 and New Year’s on January 1. Gilbert sent flowers. to the Italian Serpieris on December 25 and attended a western church service. On January 1 he reluctantly attended a reception at the Italian Embassy before being invited for dinner by the Greek-born Princess di Vicovaro (who had married a Roman prince) so that Gilbert would not have to pass the New Year alone. 

Meanwhile the Greeks, being Orthodox, observed their holidays in accordance with the Julian calendar. So Orthodox Christmas was celebrated 13 days later, on January 7. Col Hoare Nairn invited Gilbert to join his dinner party at the Grande Bretagne Hotel on the Greek Christmas. On Friday January 13, Greek New Year’s Eve, the noises of the celebrants outside were “frightful.” 

Thus the westerners in Orthodox Greece were able and happy to celebrate the holidays twice.