One month left to Christmas! Traditions, Christmas Markets & Gift Ideas

It’s that time of the year again! Are you curious about Barcelona’s Christmas traditions? Didn’t you know that, although without the snow, there are Christmas markets in Barcelona? Want some inspiration for your Christmas shopping? Then read on!

Tio de Nadal
© by Valerie Hinojosa

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS IN BARCELONA

Christmas Eve vs Christmas Day

Unlike in the rest of Spain, Christmas Eve is not widely celebrated in Barcelona and Catalonia. However, it’s on Christmas Eve that children ask the Tió de Nadal for presents… who is it? I’ll get to that soon. The big day and celebration takes place on Christmas day, where a big lunch that can extend until dinner takes place. A typical dish on Christmas day is made with galets, a snail-shaped pasta, cooked with a stew.

The 26th of December is also celebrated in Barcelona and it’s called the day of Sant Esteve. Again, the lunch can last until dinner time and it’s typical to cook cannelloni, made with leftovers from Christmas lunch.

Tió de Nadal, aka the log who poops

A generous old man called Santa Claus? Who’s that? When you live in Barcelona, your presents are delivered by a happy tree log. Now, we all find the story of an old man traveling on a flying sleigh breaking into your house through a chimney a bit too hard to believe already, so… how on Earth does this work?

Traditionally, the Tió de Nadal or Christmas log is brought into the house on the 8th of December. Nowadays this log is normally bought and it already comes with a face, eyes and a smile. From then on, the log is fed and covered so he won’t suffer from the cold, but when Christmas Eve comes the poor old log is beaten up with sticks, so that on Christmas day he will poop out presents and sweets.

It’s good to note, however, that traditionally the biggest presents are exchanged on the Three Kings Day, which is widely celebrated in Barcelona and in Spain. I’d love to tell you about that on another post!  

 

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CHRISTMAS MARKETS

You can swap shopping in the snow for some shopping under the sun in these Christmas markets:

Saint Lucia Christmas Market

This is Barcelona’s oldest and biggest Christmas market, held in the beautiful square in front of the city’s Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter. It features around 231 stalls which sell some very elaborated nativity figures, decorations and Christmas trees.

Sagrada Familia Christmas Market

Taking place by the Sagrada Familia, this market features over a hundred stalls and is popular in the Eixample district. It really gives a charming Christmas atmosphere to the Sagrada Familia!

Poble Espanyol Christmas Festival

More than a market, this is a festival with typical Spanish Christmas traditions and activities, held in one of the city’s most visited attractions where you can enjoy activities for the whole family and find beautiful handmade gifts.

 

GIFT IDEAS FOR BARCELONA LOVERS

If you need advice for your Christmas shopping and would love something in authentic Barcelona style, check out this selection I made of products made and designed here:

Monopoly : Barcelona Edition
Monopoly : Barcelona Edition
Camp Nou 3D Puzzle
Camp Nou 3D Puzzle
Roasted in Barcelona: Espresso by Nomad Coffee
Roasted in Barcelona: Espresso by Nomad Coffee
Barcelona Skyline
Barcelona Skyline
Shopper Bag by Tous
Shopper Bag by Tous
Make your own: Barcelona Scrapbook Kit
Make your own: Barcelona Scrapbook Kit
Barcelona by art critic Robert Hughes: A homage to a cosmopolitan city where Gaudí, Picasso and Miró learned how to break all rules
Barcelona by art critic Robert Hughes: A homage to a cosmopolitan city where Gaudí, Picasso and Miró learned how to break all rules

 

 

 

Author: The Barcelona Diaries

A city guide with lots of photography, useful advice and insider tips on locals' favorite spots and trends.