Moving to Spain as an auxiliare, an au pair or even just for work, often means you’ll most likely have to get used to several Spanish traditions, including Christmas. Here’s what you need to know about Christmas in Spain – it’s celebrated a little bit differently than what you know.

Christmas in Spain: what's it all about?

  1. Don't wait to hear about Santa Claus. Expect the Three Kings instead.
  2. What's the deal with the 25th of December? In Spain, Christmas is celebrated on the 6th of January.
  3. Food is the focal point. And it's eaten in very interesting ways...

Interesting read: The Strange Adventures of an American Living in Spain and Italy

How people celebrate Christmas in Spain?

First of all – Spaniards don’t have a Santa Claus. Apparently, the climate change just doesn’t suit him and Rudolph doesn’t like to fly so close to the sun. But they DO have Three Kings, also known as los Reyes Magos.

You might find that the usual Christmas day in Spain is just like any other – if you’re in Valencia or any of the main cities, you can even go to several main attractions and many stores will remain open (I visited Valencia’s zoo on Christmas day and it was wonderful).

Some families, especially expats, do still celebrate Santa Claus, also known as Papa Noel, however, things might be slightly different in a traditional family setting.

Huh? So when do the Spanish celebrate Christmas?

The date you need to remember is January 6th, also known as el Dia de Reyes. The Three Kings bring presents for children and children at heart. All major cities, including Barcelona and Madrid, hold a Three Kings Parade which usually consists of themed floats traveling on a route across the city and handing out candy to the children.

An important event that also takes place around Christmas time is… the lottery. Lotería de Navidad has been big in Spain since 1812 and it’s known to be the biggest lottery worldwide. So get in that line, get your hopes up and who knows, your Christmas might just turn out to be extra special.

C-c-check it out: 21 Reasons Why We Should All Move to Barcelona

Christmas in Spain: food traditions

Christmas time is the perfect time for the Spanish to bring out the best of the best – we’re talking food and drinks that’ll keep you full way after January 6th. Here’s what you’ll eat if you ever visit Spain during Christmas:

  • Turrón

It’s the almond Christmas candy and its history dates back to the Moorish origin. All this simple treat contains are almonds, egg whites and honey, but don’t underestimate it – it’s delicious, addictive, and you’ll be coming back for more.

El TURRÓN FRIDAY se acerca! ??? 2x1 en turrones artesanos en tiendas físicas y en la TIENDA ON LINE. Mañana os daremos el código para acceder de manera On line a esta promo.  En la imagen, turrón de trufa con #whiskey y turrón de #mojito! En la web ( link in bio ⬆️) podeis ver todas las variedades que tenemos ✨✨✨ Buenas noches sweeties! #PasteleriaMallorca #turrón #artesano #amazing #tradición #turron #artesanos #chocolate

A post shared by Pastelería Mallorca (@pasteleriamallorca) on Nov 23, 2016 at 2:02pm PST

  • Polvorones and mantecados

Almonds, sugar, lard and cinnamon – say no more, I’m totally sold on this Christmas staple shortbread. The production of these sweets started in Estepa, a town close to Seville. But it wasn’t long before the entire country caught on that they’re creating something so yummy and so addictive, it just had to be mass produced elsewhere.

Terminando 3Kilos de roscos de vino dulce Pedro Ximenez reserva para los pedidos de este fin de semana y principios de la que viene ???? Ahora toca envolverlos uno a uno con amor y paciencia ?? Mañana dos tandas más de polvorones y ya tendré listo otros 13Kilos ¡a ver cuánto duran esta vez! Que aún no ha empezado diciembre y ya llevo hechos 26 kilos! ?????? #alegriapastelera #cakes #instacake #cakelove  #foodporn #polvorones #mantecados #pastrychef #pastries #baking #bake #instabake #dulcesdenavidad #artisan #sugar #homemade #yummy #tartas #postres #pasteleria #dulces #delicioso #dough #navidad #vainilla #hechoencasa #chocolatisimoshop

A post shared by Esther Sánchez (@chocolatisimo) on Nov 23, 2016 at 3:35pm PST

  • Roscón de Reyes

Ah, the battle of Roscon de Reyes. It’s a huge thing during Christmas in Spain and people get very passionate about this recipe – a lot of shops claim they have the best of the best Roscon de Reyes bread, but the truth is, this is a very subjective statement. However, it is something you should try at least once when in Spain.

Día de #roscondereyes ! ¿Cuál es tu favorito? El nuestro de crema!

A post shared by COCINA CASERA (@cocinacaseraes) on Jan 6, 2016 at 3:00am PST

  • and…grapes

While grapes might not be necessarily a Christmas tradition, Spaniards do this weird thing on New Years that I just can’t get on board with – they eat 12 grapes at midnight, one with each bell ring. In a way, it’s a superstition – it simply means you’ll have lucky 12 months ahead. That is, unless you accidentally choke on one.

Anyways, Spotahome wishes you FELIZ NAVIDAD, wherever you’re celebrating it!

Did you make it to the end? Check out one of my favorite articles: Spotahome Food Guide: Everything You Need to Eat in Valencia

How do YOU celebrate Christmas in Spain?