Christmas in Madrid is such a wonderful time. Every neighborhood celebrates the holidays with their own decorations and lights. Some of the best sights are in Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor.
The largest Christmas “tree” in the city is in Puerta del Sol. It is actually a gigantic metal cone adorned with bright blue lights. Not your typical Christmas tree, but it has become a tradition that people here love.
A similar, yet smaller tree stands in the middle of Plaza Mayor. This all white tree is the centerpiece of the annual Christmas Market. Several rows of booths are set up showcasing festive handmade trinkets, including every imaginable piece one could add to a nativity set. There are also booths selling real Christmas trees and ornaments. Strolling through the aisles of booths with a warm hot chocolate was a perfect way to spend a chilly December evening.
Mid-December also brought us some wonderful guests. My mom and step-dad, Paul, came to stay with us to celebrate an early Christmas and birthday for me. I was so glad they were able to come at this time to see all of the festivities and to have some family with us around the holidays.
After my parents left, Jacob and I celebrated the holidays on our own. For my birthday, on the 23rd, we went to dinner and attempted to ice skate. Jacob read in an article that there was an outdoor rink open downtown. When we arrived, though, there was no rink in sight. We walked all around and confirmed that we had been given some bad information. So instead, we walked around and looked at some lights and then went home.
The next night was Christmas Eve. Jacob’s family has a long tradition of going to see a movie on Christmas. We decided to alter that a bit and go on Christmas Eve. We saw the new Star Wars movie at an adorable little theater and we just happened to be sitting in the same row as Daryl Morey, the General Manager of the Houston Rockets. As my brother said, Jacob is probably the only person who would have recognized him in that situation. It definitely made for a memorable day.
On Christmas day, we made a delicious breakfast and watched A Christmas Story. We spent the rest of the day relaxing, opening presents and even watching some basketball in the evening. We set out two days after Christmas for our big trip to France and England, so we really enjoyed just having a quiet day.
Of course, we missed our family so much during this time. While we enjoyed getting to experience Christmas in a new culture, hopefully next year we can have a white Christmas again.