Monday, January 8, 2018

Christmas 2017

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season -- we just finished ours here in Spain.  While our friends and family in the states were done with their holidays a week ago, ours were still going strong!  Although I will say, three holidays in three weeks is exhausting!

If you need a refresher on Spain's Christmas season -- read last years post here.  But a quick recap: Spain celebrates Christmas with family and while Santa isn't a big deal here, some presents are still given on Christmas.  New Year's Eve is another big holiday with everyone eating grapes and toasting with cava!  Then finally -- the big holiday for Spain: Three Kings Day on January 6th (Twelve Night or Epiphany).  So, we once again embraced the Spanish way of life and celebrated all three....

We started off with Santa pictures and celebrating Santa's arrival via helicopter on base in early December -- read about those events here (spoiler alert: our Peanut still hates Santa).  Serafina's class also took a field trip into our town center to look at all the various nativity scences the churches have set up -- we rode the little tourist train and had an absolute blast -- and no, she does not go to a religious school, it is just a normal part of the season -- visiting all the nativity scenes.  And yes, I even got to enjoy a beer on the field trip (totally acceptable in Spain)!

We celebrated Christmas Eve with some friends, including our aunt/uncle and their family (yep, Trevor's uncle is stationed here too and it is awesome!).  Serafina had so much fun running around with the older girls while the adults enjoyed amazing food and drinks.  Santa even came to visit and brought all the kids presents... and once again our sweet gal COMPLETELY freaked out.  It was so sad to watch (but also a little funny)!

Santa visited our house (and don't worry, we left cookies out!) and it was so much fun watching Serafina come down the stairs on Christmas morning.  We hadn't set out any presents so she was so shocked to see the cookies eaten and ALL the presents.  Santa brought her a workbench and she loved it!  She didn't want to open any other presents, just wanted to play with her workbench!  Then when we finally got her to open another present, she just wanted to play with that toy -- needless to say it was a long long morning of opening presents! But we had a blast and a wonderful lazy morning before heading to our very close friends house for Christmas dinner with our "crew" here in Spain.  We all have kids about the same age and it was so much fun just letting all the toddlers run around while we enjoyed more amazing food and drinks!
leaving cookies out for Santa

Our New Year's Eve was low-key and spent at home.  Most Spanish celebrate with their family until after midnight, then they all head out to the bars -- so things don't get started until about 2am!  We ate our grapes, toasted and then called it a night :)

Then finally Three Kings Day!  I have been looking forward to the parade all year -- it is so crazy and so fun and so Spanish!  The parade consistes of usually five or six floats (three floats for each king, a float for the three gifts to Jesus, then others... and also bands and various characters.  This year it was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Paw Patrol).

We were all prepared to head to the parade in the eve of Three Kings (January 5) but there was a chance of rain that evening so they moved the parade to January 4.*  It was a large deal to change the parade so notices were everywhere!  Last year the parade went right near our house so we just saw it once and went home.... this year, because of the date change, they had to do things a little differently.  Normally the kings arrive by boat the morning of the parade and all the children in the town get a chance to greet them, sit in their laps, hand them their letters -- basically the Spanish version of going to see Santa, then the parade is in the evening.  However, with the date/time change, they arrived by boat and the parade immediately followed so this year the route went backwards.  We chose to go to the parade at the beginning and had every intention of seeing it once (like last year) and heading home.... Well....
so mesmerized by everything
beginning of the parade

We saw the parade at the beginning but we weren't close enough to catch too much candy so we just had to go to a another spot!  Plus our sweet gal wanted to see more of the music and "princesses" -- local girls who are dressed up in fancy princess-type dresses on some of the various floats.  So we quickly ran (with every other person in town) so another spot on the parade route and had great front row viewing.  We were with friends who hadn't been to a Kings parade before so it was quite fun watching their reactions as the candy and toys are literally THROWN** at the people along the route.  Candy is flying in all directions, people are flying in all directions to catch the candy (and toys) -- it is pure chaos and SO much fun.  I even got a battle wound from some teenager who was trying to take candy from my hand :)

We weren't quite ready to call it a night, so we stopped at one more spot along the route on our way back home.  And this paid off BIG TIME.  We aren't sure why, but one of the King's floats stopped right in front of us for a good ten minutes -- normally the parade moves fairly quickly.  So the King and his helpers just kept throwing candy and toys and more toys at everyone -- we came away with two stuffed animals, a ball, a parcheese game, SO MUCH CANDY, goodie bags full of more candy and treats.  And so much laughing.  We don't know who had more fun -- the kids or the adults.

Then on the morning of January 6th, we woke up to find that the Three Kings had visited our house!  We had saved a few small presents for Serafina to open on Three Kings Day.  She was so excited to see presents for her and was just adorable opening them -- sadly, no pictures because (not surpringly) our sweet Peanut was butt naked while opening her presents!

We had the best holiday season and while it'll be nice to get back to our normal routine, the season will be missed -- just now looking forward to next year that much more!

*Southern Spain does NOT do rain.  As a born and raised Seattleite this just cracks me up, but seriously it is amazing how many things are canceled or changed due to rain!  In their defense, when it rains here -- it RAINS.  Like inches in an hour, flooding roads, the works....

**At our last stop, we were behind a car that was parked on the road (many cars were so it wasn't illegal) and the car had DENTS in it from the candy hitting it so hard.... if that gives you any indication as to how hard this candy is thrown!  And it is all hard candy, so it does some damage to anything it hits!

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