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To stay or not to stay in Spain for Christmas – that is the question

Stay in Spain for Christmas If you are still in denial that Christmas is coming, it’s time to wake up and smell the mulled wine! We’re just eight weeks away from Christmas Day and so if you’re renting long term in Spain it’s time to make the decision on whether to stay here for the festive season, or make the annual exodus to friends and family elsewhere.

It’s a tricky decision if you’re settled here and have found your perfect long-term rental property, as you feel at home, love living in Spain and can probably already imagine the tree and the stockings by the fire. However think carefully, as Christmas can be lonely without friends or family around, so make sure that there will be enough people around, or that your loved ones are willing to travel over to the Costa del Sol to be with you.

There are loads of benefits of Christmas on the Costa del Sol, not least the weather, which is often good enough for a stroll along the beach after Christmas dinner. The Christmas lights in Malaga are a real highlight, the old towns are lovely to stroll around and do a little chilled out shopping and there are some lovely Christmas events organized by the Town Halls.

However, we want to be honest with you, it can be hard to get into the festive mood here in Spain, as it’s much more of a low key affair in general and let’s be honest, most people don’t associate Christmas cheer with a drink on the beach. Most expats living in Spain will probably head back home and the “traditional” Christmas events like the markets and carol services take place earlier in December to allow for this. So unless it’s your dream to escape the cold and dark in the UK, or you have a good group of friends around you, or the family is over, it can feel a little sad to be living abroad at this important time of the year, so if you’re not sure we’d recommend you head home.

Travelling from Malaga or Gibraltar to the UK is surprisingly affordable before Christmas and after New Year. Be warned though, travelling back to Spain between Christmas and New Year can be expensive, if you’re looking for the most affordable fares and don’t mind much about New Year’s Eve, then travelling on 31st December or 1st January is a real bargain!

Kids are at school until 23rd December, but then their holiday lasts until 7th January because of the Three Kings. Also bear in mind that here offices tend to be open right up to Christmas Eve and only have Christmas Day as a public holiday, going back to work on Boxing Day, so make sure you book holiday asap if you’re working.

We hope this post has helped you make the decision on whether you’ll be staying over Christmas or not, if you haven’t taken the plunge and moved over here yet, we have more great advice on life in Spain on our website, not to mention loads of great Costa del Sol long term rental properties.

If you want to stay, then in our next post we’ll be sharing our tips for making the most of Christmas on the Costa del Sol.

The season of giving!

As we take the decorations down and tidy away the remains of Christmas wrapping paper, thousands of households across Spain are preparing to do it all again in celebration of the Three Kings!

Now you are renting long term on the Costa del Sol, you may want to settle in by learning more about Spanish traditions and the Christmas period is a great way to do that. With all kinds of exciting events being held until January 7th, there is still plenty of time to get involved. Every year on the 5th January, the three wise men take part in a big parade through Marbella and San Pedro throwing sweets to all the children in the street who try and catch them all with upside down umbrellas! There is also a big selection of festive events for all ages such as shows, concerts, fun days and competitions, so it is a magical time to be in the area, even if there’s no snow!

If you find that you have lots of left over, non perishable food and some unwanted gifts, why not put those to good use and donate them to charity? Unfortunately there are many families in Spain who haven’t been able to celebrate Christmas with the food and presents they would have wanted and the Three Kings day will see many go without again. If you have gifts from Christmas which will be likely to end up in the back of the cupboard never to be seen again, donating them to charity could really make someone’s day and a donation of food could make a big difference to a family.

When out shopping in the sales this week, keep your favourite charities in mind as any donations made now could easily be distributed to those in need just in time for Three Kings Day. Getting involved with charity is also a great way to start settling in! If you don’t speak Spanish you could drop your donations into somewhere like Specsavers Opticas in Marbella and Fuengirola who are currently collecting on behalf of Red Cross and AECC (Spanish Cancer Care Association).

You can see all details of local events, things to do and be involved with, including charity work, in the local newspapers and local websites such as Marbella Family Fun. Visit our website if you are looking to rent on the Costa del Sol in 2013 or call us for more information on 952 859 595.

 

 

Learning Spanish – Christmas shopping

The Costa del Sol is an enchanting place to be at Christmas time and a great chance for you and the family to learn about Spanish traditions. Pretty Christmas lights are sparkling in the towns, the restaurants and bars are once again bustling and the supermarkets are stocked with juicy turkeys and all kinds’ of festive goodies ready for week-long celebrations of the Three Kings.

Now that you are renting long term on the Costa del Sol, a great way to really feel settled in is to learn the lingo and Christmas is a great excuse to get started! Here are some Spanish tips so now you can do your Christmas shopping in Spanish too.

Christmas Tree

¿Aquí se vende árboles de navidad? – Do you sell Christmas trees here?

¿Cuánto cuesta por metro? – How much do they cost per metre?

¿Se entrega a domicilio? –  Are they delivered to the house?

¿Cuándo se puede entregarlo? – When can it be delivered?

¿Viene con raíces o está cortado? – Does it come with roots or is it cut?

Presents

Busco una camisa para hombre. – I´m looking for a man’s shirt.

¿Hay de seda / algodón? – Is there anything in silk / cotton?

Busco algo clasico / de moda. – I´m looking for something classic / fashionable.

¿Puedo devolverlo si no le gusta? – Can I return it if he doesn’t like it?

Tiene que devolverlo dentro de catorce días con el recibo. –  You have to return it within 14 days with the receipt.

Me podría dar un reembolso o tengo que cambiarlo para otra prenda? – Can I have a refund or do I have to change it for another garment?

Aquí tiene el recibo. – Here´s the receipt.

Me gustaría un reembolso. – I would like a refund.

Es para regalar, ¿se puede envolverlo? – It’s for a present, can you wrap it?

Shopping for Christmas dinner

Nata montado – whipped cream,      nata para montar – whipping cream,      jerez – sherry,      chirivía – parsnip,      castañas – chestnuts,      pavo – turkey,      pastelillo navideño relleno de frutas – mincepie,      relleno de frutas – mincemeat,      pastel de frutas secas que se come el día de Navidad – Christmas pudding,      col de Bruselas – Brussels sprouts,      tarjetas de Navidad – Christmas cards,      papel de regalo – wrapping paper,      lucitas de Navidad – Christmas lights,      nueces – walnuts,      frutas secas – nuts (general),      adornos navideños – Christmas decorations,      bolas de Navidad – Christmas baubles,      turrón – typical Christmas sweet made of nougat and chocolate.

¡Feliz Navidad! – Happy Christmas!

Michelle Lewis is a Spanish Teacher, Translator and Interpreter. She can help with a wide range of issues in Spanish including; NIE, residency, registering at the medical centre, medical appointments, importation of cars, problems with the Town Hall, the gestor, the police, or Telefonica. Email michellejlewis@hotmail.com or call 680 155 254 for more information.

Marbella looking beautiful for Christmas

Marbella turned on its Christmas lights at the beginning of this month and is now looking very festive and ready to party. Despite the rain we’ve seen over the last few months, the twinkling lights are making the whole place look stunning.

The main road Avenida Ricardo Soriano, the Old Town, the Parque Alameda and the Avenida del Mar are the best place to go and see the lights. There’s a gorgeous Christmas tree of lights and baubles of poinsettia flowers on the Avenida del Mar which is well worth a look. It’s been said that the council are spending 280,000€ this year on their decorations which seems like a lot, but I’m glad that they haven’t stinted on the Christmas cheer!

Malaga is also famous for its Christmas lights and the huge parade that they hold for the Three Kings on the 5th January. However, parking can be tricky, so you can leave your car in the Plaza Mayor shopping centre and take the train in to the centre to avoid the traffic jams and the parking problems.

If you are spending your first Christmas in Spain and want to find out more about what’s happening, download our Guide to Christmas on the Costa del Sol for free on our website.

Las Compras de Navidad – Christmas Shopping

Once you’ve got your long-term rental in Spain you can really make yourself at home here and enjoy a great family Christmas. Christmas in Spain is fantastic, with lots of festive cheer and what’s more it goes on until 6th January when the Three Kings come to town.

We’ll be filling you in on what to do and where to go over Christmas later this month, but to get you prepared, here are some key phrases to make sure you can buy all your Christmas goodies in Spanish!

Continue reading “Las Compras de Navidad – Christmas Shopping”