By Nancy Todd
Santas are not in Spanish department stores making promises to little kids.Nor scaring the wits out of babies. Phony elves do not skip merrily vying for expensive photos. Christmas traditions in Spain are a bit saner.
No guilt tripping bell ringers. From the big cities of Granada, Seville, Madrid, Barcelona to small towns, the few modern Santas that are visible are four feet high and made of red plastic. Sometimes you see the Three Kings. Hanging on to balconies, Santas struggle up a white rope ladder. They won’t get stuck in chimneys as there are not many chimneys in Spain. If Santa does come, he will get into the apartments by magic. The sleigh with reindeer was left at the North Pole.
Christmas trees are rare. A four footer is 100 dollars and purchased at the florist or the markets in the plazas. Most families don’t celebrate Christmas on the 25th and if they do there is one present.
The sixth of January, King’s Day, is when the real load comes in the door. The Three Kings arrive in a big parade and throw candy to the crowds. Later that night, they bring gifts to the children. Either way, magic is in the air.