Are you thinking of going to Tenerife during the Christmas holiday? We think that's a great idea! Escape the holiday buzz, the obsessive shoppers, and truly get away from it all. Whether you want to celebrate or just lie on the beach and ignore the world, here are some things to know about that time of year on the island.
1. Many of the towns will put up lights and decorations for the Christmas and New Year celebrations. In the bigger towns on the islands, some of the festive displays are really impressive. Up in the north, towns like Santa Cruz, La Laguna and Puerto de la Cruz will have full Christmas programs with music and singing. Santa Cruz holds a free concert on December 25th in the evening, hosted by the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra. The poinsettia flower is also a traditional decoration that you will find all over the island.
2. There are elaborately detailed and decorated nativity scenes or scenes from village life in biblical times, are found all across Tenerife, ranging from basic displays perhaps in shop windows, to major productions in front of Town hall. Most often referred to as "beléns," there are sometimes routes to follow around the towns to see a full story. Also, while exploring the towns, keep an eye out for Father Christmas, as you'll be sure to run into him in town centers taking photos with the children.
3. Christmas Eve is a celebration with the family. On the night of December 24th, most Canarios will be at home and some restaurants will close early. This is truer in the north then in the touristy south, but is still something you should be aware of, and perhaps plan to eat a bit earlier. Some families plan to go to restaurants on Christmas Eve, so be sure to check about needing reservations. The celebration continues into the night as some clubs and bars in the south will have special parties, and you'll find a lot of people in the streets quite late attending Misa de Gallo (Midnight Mass), another very popular tradition.
4. Do your shopping in advance. Many shops will be closed on Christmas Day, December 25th, so plan that as a beach day to make sand castles and watch the palm trees sway.
5. Were you wishing for a white Christmas? Spain's highest mountain, Mount Teide peak is often covered in a white coat in the winter months. If the island has had nice, fluffy, snow, head to the peak to build a small snowman! While this an option, we highly recommend you go to the beach on Christmas Day. There is something surreal about lying on the beach on December 25th, a nice warm breeze blowing over you, and snow-capped Mt Tiede in the background. Also, after spending Christmas on the beach, you'll get to start the year with a glowy complexion.
6. Don't forget to get your Christmas Treat! The locals know it's that time of year when whole aisles in the Tenerife markets are devoted to displays of turrón. Turrón are small cakes made from almonds, honey and egg and are a traditional Tenerife Christmas dessert. While the Spanish claim this yummy food originated in the Valencia region, many attributes it further back to the Ancient Greeks. Regardless of its culinary roots, the original flavor of Yema Tostada (Egg Yolk) is perfect for an afternoon tea or try one of the other dozen flavors now distributed.
7. If you stay for a few more days and are still in Tenerife on December 28th - beware! This is known as the Day of the Innocents, similar to our April Fool's Day. There are many practical jokes being played all throughout the day, and don't believe what you read in the Spanish newspapers.