Ten magical ways to give your kids the best Spanish Christmas ever

The Local Spain
The Local Spain - [email protected]
Ten magical ways to give your kids the best Spanish Christmas ever
Photo: AFP

What child wouldn't love the fact that in Spain you get to celebrate, not once, nor twice, but three times, during the festive period? Lisa Sadleir tells The Local how to get the best out of Christmas in Spain.


Stop by a Christmas market

Photo: denAsuncioner/Flickr 

Every city and town throughout the country has some kind of Christmas market where stalls sell ornate figurines for the nativity, Christmas trees,  decorations, flowers, hand-crafted gifts, sweets and other typical local products.

READ MORE: Ten of the best Christmas markets in Spain

Visit your local Belén

Photo: Ayuntamiento Madrid 

As Spain is a Roman Catholic country, the nativity is a very important part of the celebration of Christmas. We always make time to visit them wherever we are and they can sometimes turn out to be far removed from the traditional representation - I'll never forget taking the family to see a Barbie and Ken nativity scene: Barbie was belly dancing for Ken who was sitting in an arm chair drinking beer. It wasn’t quite the earnest religious moment we were expecting!

READ ALSO:  #Navidad: In Spain the Christmas story begins with Belén

Book a Christmas show

Photo: Circo Price has a Christmas show in Madrid until January 4th

Whether its a pantomime, circus or musical theatre, Christmas is a great time to get the family together for a trip to show. English-speaking amateur dramatics groups across Spain stage pantos and many theatres stage Christmas themed shows.



Eat turrón, mantecados and polvorones

Photo: Fiona Govan

In Spain, it just wouldn't be Christmas without the candy known as turrón. Turrón is a nougat made out of almonds, honey and sugar, and comes in both hard and soft varieties. Other Spanish Christmas treats include marzipan, mantecados, and polvorones, which are traditional Spanish Christmas biscuits.

Learn some Spanish "villancicos"

Photo: Ayuntamiento de Valdemoro/Flickr 

Spain has its own Christmas carols to be sung around the tree on Christmas Eve.  Here is a guide to some of my favourites. 



Ring the bells

Photo: Lorenzoclick/Flickr 

Another fun Christmas Eve musical tradition involves the ringing of bells - at midnight all of the church bells sound, calling everyone to a church service called "La Misa Del Gallo," or the rooster's mass. It is fun to give each child a small hand bell to ring in Christmas Day, the Spanish way.

Prepare a Christmas Eve Box

Photo: Jenn Durfey / Flickr

This can be prepared as a gift to kickstart the Christmas festivities. Our boxes contained a pair of pyjamas, some socks, chocolates, a Christmas mug with a selection of hot chocolate drinks and a book. It can help soothe the excitement of a visit from Santa and persuade little ones to snuggle up in bed.

Don't forget about Santa

Photo: Fiona Govan

In Spain, Santa may not be the big Christmas star that he is in countries such as the UK and America, having to compete as he does with the Three Kings as bearer of gifts. But his popularity is growing and he may even be appearing at a grotto within a shopping center near you.

As we all know, he travels across the whole world on Christmas eve, so although you may not have a mince pie handy here in Spain, apparently Santa is rather partial to turrón, so don't forget to leave him a piece alongside the carrot for Rudolph.

Write to Los Reyes Magos

Photo: AFP

In Spain, the festive season lingers into the New Year when on the evening of January 5th, children get a visit from the Three Kings (Wise Men). In fact, it is to them and not Santa that Spanish children write a letter with their Christmas wish list and assurances that they have spent the year being good.

Letters should be delivered before January 5th to one of the royal pages at shopping centres and city squares around Spain.

Catch sweets at La Cabalgata 

Children collecting sweets during the Three Kings parade in Madrid. Photo: Zona Retiro/Flickr 

Spain’s villages, towns and cities receive the traditional, joyful visit of the Three Wise Men of the East: Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar in a parade on the evening of January 5th.

It is an exciting experience for children of all ages. The parade represents the journey made by the Three Kings on their camels, following the star to the Bethlehem stable where Jesus was born. Streets are packed by floats carrying the kings and a whole host of weird and wonderful characters who throw sweets into the crowd. The children will love it.

Top Tip: Take an umbrella, turn it upside down and your children will be able to use it to catch loads of sweets!

This article was written before the Covid-19 pandemic. Lisa Sadleir is a relocation consultant and mother of two bilingual children living in Malaga. She writes a blog and is the author of Moving to Spain with Children.



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also