Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year... And No, It's Not Back to School :)

It's Christmas time!!  Yes time for holiday lights and festivals and Christmas trees... and of course, lots of yummy goodies to add to my waistline! 

Unlike in the States, the holiday season here does not officially start until the evening of November 30th when the lights in the streets are turned on.  While they still don't seem super Christmas-y to me, they are still really pretty and festive.  But at least they switch things up each year so that we have different lights on each street each year. 

The lights along Travessera de Gracia (we live less than a block off this street)

Chandeliers along Passeig de Gracia, one of my favorite streets in the city

Closeup of a chandelier

Once the lights were up in the city, it was time for us to start decorating at home.  I still think my tree here, courtesy of IKEA, is a bit on the Charlie Brown side, but given the size of our apartment and general lack of decorations, it will do.  It has not diminished the fun we have putting it all together!  Last year our new tradition was to make some of our own ornaments.  Well, I seem to have lost the bucket with all those supplies (how that is possible when we don't have a single closet is beyond me), so I'm happy to say we have started a new tradition.  Now, when we travel we try to purchase a new ornament in the city or country we are visiting.  New ornaments this year came from Holland, Venice, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Barcelona, Murano, Hydra...and a few more.  Though we didn't find them in every place we went to, it was still a nice reminder of the trips we have taken thru the year and fun to reminisce! 

Liam was more interested in making the ornaments into action figures...and all non precious ones are now on the bottom!

Nothing better than tinsel!

And more tinsel

Liam with his Santa hat

And his Santa hat with Rudolph antlers added to it

Last week the Christmas markets opened here in Barcelona and since I was in need of some caganers and caga tios to send both home and to take on an upcoming trip with us, I was all for going.  That and last year I only made it with the kids so didn't really get to wander around much.  My friend Brenda and I hit up the market on Friday and somehow most of the tourists were gone - though apparently just for that day because the city is PACKED right now so great timing for us!  We went down by the Cathedral to check out all the booths packed with caganers, caga tios, ornaments, decorations for nativity scenes, Christmas trees and more! 

For those who weren't reading last year or missed the entry, let me just refresh your memory on Caganers and Caga Tios.  A caganer is placed in your nativity scene and is shown squatting down pooping, yes pooping.  It is supposed to represent a fertile new year.  I know, I know... only in Spain right?  And a caga tio is a poop log.  He is literally a log and you are supposed to feed him every day starting after the Immaculate Conception and then on Christmas Eve you sing a little song telling him not to poop sardines but to poop presents or turron (a sweet here).  Then you beat him with a stick.  Yup, you read that right...

We have added a new caganer to our collection - a caga tio caganer!  He poops a present :)  And to Liam's amazement, he has a "human butt".  We now own 6 caganers...and yet, no nativity scene.  Just a whole lot of pooping guys (Darth Vader, Bart Simpson, a Smurf, caga tio and 2 traditional Catalan ones)

Some caga tios with adjustable butts - very cool but also very expensive.

More caga tios

We're really looking forward to the holiday season!  Next weekend we are heading to France, Germany and Swtizerland to go check out Christmas markets in each country - and we're going to be stopping in to see some friends in France which should make it even more fun!  So keep an eye out for some scenic posts with postcard like pictures of quaint towns all decorated for the holidays!


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