Sunday, November 14, 2010

Clever Christmas Shopping for Expats in Spain

Christmas is a real highlight for expats living in Spain. The long festive season lasts for many weeks and includes some wonderful events and traditions. Making the most of the season is a must and if you’re a clever expat you’ll shop online to bag the best Christmas goodies and give yourself more time for celebrate!

Creating a Christmas that brings together Spanish style and the best traditions from home is a great way to celebrate.

So what are the key dates on the Spanish calendar? The official start to the season is 8 December when the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is marked by dancing in front of the magnificent Gothic cathedral in Seville. Christmas is a deeply religious time for the Spanish people whose country has the Virgin Mary as its Patron Saint.

Christmas Eve is a hugely important night. Nochebuena or ‘The Good Night’ is a time for family, friends and food. Just about every home has a nativity scene. Seasonal sweet treats are served including ‘turron’, a delicious almond candy.

Expats add plenty of traditional British sparkle. Deck your halls with baubles and make sure the Christmas tree is decorated from top to bottom. Shop online and you’ll find everything you need with delivery to your door in Spain for just €5.

On Christmas Day, Navidad, people exchange gifts, go to church and, surprisingly enough, play on swing sets. Swinging at solstice times is about encouraging the sun to shine. Everyone swings as high as they can to urge the sun higher into the sky.

This is the day that tests your Kuala Lumpur Christmas gift-finding skills. Expats who don’t want to trail around the shops or who live off the beaten track know the web is a shopper’s best friend. Go online to find everyone’s favourite brands including perfumes, watches, jewelery and toys, games and gadgets galore.

On December 28, Spain gets busy for a day of helping each other out. Celebration bonfires are lit and locals carry out civic chores such as sweeping the streets. It pays to comply as fines are issued to people who don’t! The money is used to pay for the celebrations.

Spanish children have to be more patient than British youngsters over the festive season. On Christmas Day they receive just a token gift. They wait until The Feast of the Epiphany on January 6 to wake up to a house full of presents. Before they go to sleep the night before, they fill their shoes with straw, carrots and barley and leave them on the windowsill. They believe their Christmas gift delivery are left by their favourite Wise Man Balthazar and they want to encourage him to visit by leaving food out for his donkey. Let’s hope Santa’s reindeer haven’t got there first!

Shopping online is the fast, economical way to make sure your halls are decked beautifully and the season is a hit with everyone.

Big brands are delivered to your home in Spain for €5 for any size order when you shop at little woods europe. Jill Tomlinson is a freelance advertising copywriter who works for Sarah Lamballe Copywriting and writes about the expat lifestyle in Spain for Littlewoods Europe.
By Jill Tomlinson

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