It’s not easy being on the road for Christmas. On one hand it allows us to really pare down any excessive spending (especially when Dan slaps things out of our hands at the store yelling “It won’t fit! Put it down!”). But on the other hand it’s a hard time to be away. The girls have really missed many of our traditional activities that we had in the USA, especially all the time with friends and family. It’s really a toss up whether we should try to duplicate them (and risk failing, thus sadness) or skip them (and risk missing them, creating even more sadness).
But being in a new country also can be quite interesting to see how they do things here. The Christmas season is evident here in Spain. In early November you start to see all the lights going up on the streets. They really love their lights here and indeed, with the sun going down around 6 p.m., the lights lighting up the streets while the Spaniards eat their late dinner makes a lovely festive atmosphere. Every town we went to during this season had lights on their street, and many buildings would put up elaborate lights as well. It was really pretty. They also love their manger scenes and towns (the government, mind you) would put up elaborate scenes in different buildings and invite people to take a tour. The three kings are especially popular here.
The Spaniards don’t have the same tradition with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as Americans. These two days are more low-key, time to eat out or spend time with friends, family and fireworks. Their big holiday for gift giving is Three Kings Day on January 6. So we’ll have to pay attention then. The kids tried to argue that “When in Spain….” and that we should celebrate both Christmas AND Three Kings Day with massive gift giving. Yeah, not happening. Insert Daniel slapping gifts away here.
This is our third Christmas away from home and it’s getting easier and smaller. Here are a few scenes of the things we did to try and make the season festive.