How I celebrate Christmas in the Canary Islands is quite different to how I used to celebrate in the UK. Despite my reputation for being a bit of a Grinch, The Beach Boys’ Christmas album and a visit from my parents usually help me to get into the festive spirit.
Did you know that presents are exchanged on the 6th January instead of 25th December in Spain? This is to symbolise the day the 3 Kings finished their long journey and arrived in Bethlehem to visit Jesus.
Do you start your Christmas shopping on Black Friday or wait until last minute?
I usually start my Christmas shopping the week of Black Friday, not necessarily for the offers but just to get to the shopping malls I want to visit before the crowds.
See I told you I was a Grinch!
Because we have until 6th January to shop, we can still be buying presents for family after New Year and sales don’t start until 7th January!
If you could be in any Christmas movie, what would it be?
This is a no-brainer, I’d want to be in Gremlins!
Which do you like better: Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
This year I’m looking forward to Christmas Day but really I prefer the 5th January.
My village has a 3 Kings parade through the village on real camels throwing sweets to the crowds and then they go to the local church square to receive the key to the town from the Mayor.
(How else can they deliver presents? Which are put under the bed, not under the tree btw!)
They then sit on thrones to do a meet and greet and a chance for the kids to give them their wishlists.
When does your family (or you) put up your Christmas tree and who decorates it?
I usually put the Christmas tree up and decorate it. We have a huge white tree that can be adjusted, the only thing is we can never seem to get it back into the box after the holidays season, so it stays out well in to January lol.
When I was a kid we had a huge, real pine tree each year that reached the ceiling and my Mum, sister and I would decorate it. We would have to get the step ladders out to reach the top as we had 10ft ceilings haha.
White lights or coloured lights?
Last year I picked up some cool blue lights but they ended up making the tree look possessed! This year we’ve gone for some white battery operated ones which I will be able to use after the holidays in my photography.
Are you guilty of peeking at your presents or do you like the surprise?
Nooo! No peeking at the presents. I joke about peeking but I’d rather have the surprise. My husband is very good at hiding them away. We will exchange presents on the 25th but won’t give or receive gifts from his family until January, so we don’t have double the amount of presents, they are just spread out over the 2 days.
Would you rather live in a gingerbread house or in Santa’s workshop?
It depends what Santa is making in his workshop. Is he making the latest gadget? Is there a games console in there? I’m sure the elves don’t go without a cup of hot chocolate and I’m sure we could sneak some gingerbread cookies in.
Tell us your Christmas Eve traditions!
Christmas Eve is a big deal in Spain and is called Nochebuena. It’s the time when the family get together for a big Christmas meal and sobremesa (no translation for this word but it’s basically after you have eaten a meal, anytime of year, all chatting round the table for hours)
When I used to drink alcohol, we would go out after this meal, about midnight for a night out as it’s Bank Holiday the next day (25th).
My personal experience with Nochebuena is going to my husband’s Auntie’s house and setting up for about 40 people in their huge garage. When we arrive his Uncle is always stewing some baifo (baby goat) up in a huge pot and makes his own bread in a special oven. There will also be fish soup, Canarian potatoes, goat cheese, alioli, chicken kebabs on sticks and a bottle of Strawberry Clipper soda on every table.
The tiny tv is on in the corner (but unobtrusive) with the King’s speech and a live Christmas show with Canarian performers. Dessert of flan is served once the tables have been cleared. To be honest I don’t eat a lot of the food at this get together but it’s nice to see everyone.
If you could be under the mistletoe with anyone who would it be?
My husband of course!
What tops your Christmas tree?
We have a glittery star on the very top of the tree, then a Chewbacca ornament goes underneath that.
Can you name the 12 days of Christmas?
FIVE GOLD RINNNNGGGGS!
Hahah this is what I remember from the school choir, everyone would really emphasize that part.
Have you ever gone Christmas carolling?
When I was at school both Junior and High School, I was in the school choir. Each Christmas we would visit nursing homes and sing to the residents which was probably the highlight of their day.
Do you countdown to Christmas? If so, how many days left?
Nah I’m more excited about Halloween! I start to feel holly jolly usually after NYE in the run up to Three Kings Day lol.
What are some foods and treats you can count on having every holiday season?
There’s a restaurant that we go to for Christmas dinner on the 25th and they do a really nice roast but the dessert is even better. Triple choc cake or apple crumble with custard!
Dunkin Coffee do super cute 3 Kings donuts each year, so I’ll probably get more of them.
How has Christmas kept it’s magic for you as you’ve grown older?
I’d say it’s less magic as I’ve gotten older to be honest. I have learned to appreciate my family year round and not to pin a lot of energy or hope on one day of the year.
Thanks for reading,
The Grinch 😆
How do you celebrate the Christmas holidays? Let me know in the comments.