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If you are looking to spend the festive season in Tenerife, you would be surprised how many of your Christmas traditions you can still enjoy. While you may not consider lying on a beach in the sun with the palm trees lazily wafting in the breeze is a very festive image; Christmas in Tenerife can be just as jolly as Christmas in the UK, just a little warmer.
If you’re not a fan of the cold and damp that winter in Britain undoubtedly means, then escaping somewhere warm and sunny may be your idea of heaven. However, us Brits are pretty stuck in our way when it comes to Christmas and we treasure our seasonal traditions and Christmas just doesn’t feel like Christmas without them. Christmas in Tenerife can offer the best of both worlds however, as you will see below.
Christmas shopping and the run up to the big day | While one of the main reasons you have for leaving the country for Christmas might be to avoid to manic shopping period, Christmas shopping in Tenerife is a much more relaxed affair. In fact, the entire run up to Christmas in Tenerife is very calm and chilled. One of the biggest reasons for this is that children in Spain don’t usually get their gifts until the 7th January, after the festival of the arrival of the three Kings on the 6th January. Therefore, shopping malls in Tenerife are very quiet in the run up to the 25th meaning if you have any last-minute presents to buy, you can do it at your leisure.
Christmas decorations | When you think of Christmas somewhere hot and sunny, you may not like the thought of decorating a palm tree with fairy lights and tinsel. It just isn’t very Christmassy. However, the island of Tenerife put out some wonderful Christmas decorations during December which will make any visiting Brit feel right at home. Most towns with adorn their public spaces and squares with Christmas lights for the festive season. However, if you really want to be impressed then head into the larger cities for Christmas displays to that give Blackpool illuminations a run for their money.
A more traditional Christmas decoration which you will find in any town in Tenerife is that of the nativity scenes, called Belen. Ranging from simple nativity scenes of the birth of Jesus, to intricate, detailed scenes of entire towns. Each Belen will also depict a cheeky chappy who has been caught short so keep an eye out for him when you find each scene. Look for Belen everywhere as they will pop up anywhere from shop windows to town squares to people’s front gardens.
Christmas eve | In Tenerife, Christmas eve is very much a family affair with most residents spending the evening with family at home. This means that many restaurants, bars and even hotel restaurants will be closed on Christmas eve so that the staff can spend time with their families. You may find more places open nearer the tourist areas to the south of the island but if you are hoping to have a nice meal out on Christmas eve, you are best off eating early. Many residents of Tenerife will stay home until midnight mass, afterwards the younger members of the family will often head to the bars and clubs which open at 1am so if you are hoping to join in the Christmas eve party scene, pace yourself and make sure you have enough energy to keep going into the early hours with the locals.
Christmas day | Admittedly, roast dinners are not the traditional cuisine of Tenerife and Spain, you can still enjoy a hearty turkey dinner on Christmas day in selected restaurants. Turkey dinners are obviously popular with visiting Brits, so places fill up quickly so if you see somewhere you fancy, book in quickly. There will be more places offering a traditional Christmas roast turkey dinner in the south of the island where there are a lot of British bars and restaurants. However, if for you, part of enjoying Christmas abroad is the local food then most resorts and restaurants will remain open Christmas day.
A white Christmas in Tenerife? | Although the weather in Tenerife at Christmas will be warm enough for you to enjoy a day at the beach on the 25th, you may also be able to enjoy a white Christmas too. Yes, you read that right. Mount Teide is Spain’s highest mountain and is located on Tenerife. During the winter months it is covered in a thick layer of snow and locals and tourists alike love to drive up to the slopes to enjoy sledging and snowball fights. You may not have considered leaving the UK and going to somewhere like Tenerife would have guaranteed you a white Christmas, but as long as you don’t mind the drive up, Mount Teide is a winter wonderland. You can always warm back up on the beach with a Mai Tai after your snowy escapades.
The aftermath | Boxing day in Tenerife is not a national holiday so all the local bars, shops and restaurants will be open as usual. But don’t think this means you get an early shot at the post-Christmas sales as these don’t start until after January 7th. However, it does mean that you can enjoy a day out without having to worry about early closing times. Every Christmas and New Year the Tenerife auditorium plays host to an international musical. Previous shows include the Sound of Music and Les Misérables. Hopefully you can catch a performance before your return to the UK and the snow and cold.
Christmas in Tenerife may be a little different but no means less enjoyable. Why not escape the dull and dreary UK weather and have a more exotic Christmas in the sun?