How to Enjoy Christmas in Tenerife

A Tenerife Christmas is a wonderful experience. It is possible to spend the morning of Christmas Day throwing snowballs and making snowmen on Mount Teide, and the afternoon enjoying the sunshine and watching the palm trees swaying gently in the sea breeze on one of Tenerife’s stunning beaches.

The towns and villages in Tenerife have at least one beautifully designed nativity display. Some are small while others have a lot of detail in them. Shared by each one is the time and thought that has gone into creating them. Keep your eye out for ‘El Caganer’, which literally means ‘The Crapper’. This is a figure which is in the squatting position. See who can spot him first!

The main towns and areas know how to decorate for a Tenerife Christmas with many twinkling fairy lights strung through the streets, and sweet smelling christmas trees adorned with baubles and sparkling tinsel. You will also hear the relaxing sound of carols being sung.

Christmas Eve is a family affair in Tenerife with shops and restaurants closing early, though many do stay open in the larger resorts such as Playa de las Américas and Costa Adeje. In these areas, in the south of Tenerife, you can find Christmas Eve parties in some bars and nightclubs. The British bars are always lively on this night!

Christmas Eve in the northern areas such as Puerto de la Cruz are more peaceful, so it’s advised to eat early if there, and then join the Spanish for Midnight Mass (Misa de Gallo).

If you want to enjoy a traditional Christmas Day dinner this is also possible with many restaurants and bars in the larger resorts offering a special Christmas Day menu. Don’t forget to reserve a table in advance as it can get quite busy.

Restaurants decorate for Christmas. Notice the upside down Christmas tree!

The festive season in Tenerife lasts longer than usual as children first receive their presents on the 6th January after the arrival of the Three Kings the evening before.

Even the dogs enjoy getting into the Christmas spirit!

If you are in Tenerife on the 28th of December, beware! This is the Day of the Innocents, a day much like our own April Fools Day. There will be many practical jokes, and don’t believe a word anyone tells you, or what you read in a Spanish newspaper on this day.

One last thing to mention, is to be sure of trying the traditional Christmas treat called Turrón. It is made of honey, egg and almonds and is very tasty.

Father Christmas also enjoys a holiday break in Tenerife.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Feliz Navidad!!

Text and photos by Lynne Knightley

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Christmas and New Year message from Carlos Alonso, the President of the Cabildo Insular de Tenerife 

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, December 16, 2015

 

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a star or a bright light that shines. Every year, around this time, the Star of Bethlehem guides the way that each of us chooses to follow. If we stray off the path, either we stop or go back a few steps – no one will do it for us. Sometimes the light is hidden behind thick clouds, the night turns dark, the road becomes more difficult and we risk falling. But when the sky clears up, the glow becomes even brighter and everything looks much clearer.

In the Cabildo, the clouds over the years have made us tread more carefully: we have had to hold on tight so as not to fall and everyone has pitched in to push forward many projects. It has been a period of economic hardship for many families and for this public administration. Fortunately, we are beginning to see the starry sky again and the way ahead is becoming easier.

In 2016 the Tenerife Government will have the necessary funds to advance steadily. We can invest in people’s needs, promote job creation and undertake major improvements to our roads.

But undoubtedly the most exciting project of this New Year is the one that has to do with the training and preparation of our young people. Tenerife 2030 offers our children the shining stars they need so that each year they will find their way without fear of the dark. Empowering them with the tools of knowledge, it will enable them to face the future without stumbling.

Keeping any eye on those who are our future means not losing sight of our primary responsibility.

May the spirit of Christmas always shine brightly and may the sum of our good intentions become an inspirational light to guide us into the New Year.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

 

Carlos Alonso

President

Tenerife Government

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Amigos de Vitolo Charity Football

Title: Amigos de Vitolo Charity Football
Location: Adeje Football Stadium
Description: The traditional christmas charity game moves down south. Organised by Vitolo, a former CD Tenerife star now playing for Panathinaikos, stars like Pedro from Barcelona and Jeffren, former Barca and now with Sporting Portugal, will be present along with Canarian players currently playing at other clubs in La Primera. Pre tournament childrewns games from 6pm and main triangular tournament at 8pm.
Date: 2012-12-26

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Top Ten Things to do on Tenerife at Christmas

Forget the fact that Tenerife is a subtropical island off the coast of Africa. Forget the fact that the sun is shining, there are palm trees and you’re wearing T-shirt and shorts. There’s plenty of festive fun to be had during Christmas on Tenerife.

If you happen to be on holiday on Tenerife you can escape the frantic Christmas crowds at home but still enjoy a magical Christmas atmosphere. Here are our top 10 things to do at Christmas on Tenerife.

Pig out on Turrón
This scrumptious cake borne from a grand romantic gesture is only found on supermarket shelves on Tenerife at Christmas (well…until stocks run out). It is sinfully good especially when paired with a cup of coffee. There are oodles of different varieties to choose from, but the original almond, sugar, honey and egg yema tostada is still the best.

Slip on some Sexy Red Underwear
Apparently it’s good luck to see in the New Year wearing red underwear (it doesn’t say anywhere it has to be sexy, but ‘slip on some plain red underwear’ just doesn’t sound the same). Two conditions for guaranteeing good luck for the coming year is that the red underwear has to be new and also that it’s a present. Who knows how many people follow this tradition; it’s a difficult one to research ““ ‘excuse me, what colour is your underwear?’ is more likely to result in a slap than an answer.

Enjoy a Sparkling Christmas
The Christmas street decorations in some of Tenerife’s towns make a visit after dark an enchanting experience. Some of the resorts put on decent displays but to walk the cobbled historic streets in la Laguna and La Orotava after dark evokes warm and fuzzy memories of childhood Christmases.

Singalong-a-Christmas
There’s usually a popular musical at the Tenerife Auditorium Adán Martín and this year it’s The Sound of Music. Actually it’s the Spanish version Sonrisas y Lagrimas, so the music might sound familiar but the words might not; somehow ‘Doh a cierva’ just wouldn’t seem right. Possibly a better option is the free open air Christmas Day classical concert in Santa Cruz.


Eat Early on Christmas Eve
This applies more if you’re in a traditional town on Tenerife where every Canarian restaurant shuts early on Christmas Eve so that families can enjoy their big Christmas dinner together.
Of course if you’re one of those people who eat their dinner in the middle of the afternoon (around 6pm) then it won’t be a problem.

Forget Santa Claus and Cheer on the Three Kings
There’s no big portly guy squeezing down chimneys here. Tenerife’s version, like the rest of Spain, is the Tres Reyes (Three Kings) who pay a visit to Tenerife’s towns on the evening of the 5th January to bestow gifts on the children. Lots of towns on Tenerife have Tres Reyes parades, in some the kings arrive on camels. The tradition makes a lot more sense than the whole Santa Claus deal.

Let Them Eat Cake
It’s traditional to eat Roscón de Reyes (the Kings” Cake) on Tres Reyes (6th January) but you can buy these throughout the Christmas period on Tenerife. Riscón de Reyes is a wreath shaped bready cake topped by candied fruit. It used to be traditional to put a dried bean and a figurine in the cake mix. Whoever got the figure was made honorary king for the day and the person who got the bean had to fork out for the cake (approx €8). Last time I tried Roscón de Reyes I got the bean, so I haven’t bothered since (you can take the boy out of Scotland but…).

Build a Snowman
Honestly, this is a popular local tradition if we get enough of the white stuff on Mount Teide. But on Tenerife there’s a bit of a difference. You build the snowman on the bonnet of your car and then try to make it to the coast before the snowman completely melts…and without crashing because you can’t see as you’ve got a snowman on your bonnet.

Check out the Beléns
These nativity scenes found everywhere on Tenerife (town halls, shop windows, hotels) can be incredibly detailed with intricate moving parts. Adults and children love them, especially when they spot el caganer ““ the guy who always gets ‘caught short” out in the open.

Sunbathe on Christmas Day
If you haven’t done it before, there’s something bizarre about lounging about on the beach in your swimwear on Christmas Day, especially if there’s snow on Mount Teide and it’s a white Christmas on Tenerife.

¡Feliz Navidad a Todos!

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Watch Los Tres Reyes (The Three Kings) Parade, La Orotava 2011

Tenerife Magazine was in the beautiful old quarter of La Orotava to film the arrival of the Tres Reyes (Three Kings).

In Spain, it isn’t Father Christmas who brings gifts to children on Christmas Eve, but rather the Three Kings who, just as they brought gifts to the baby Jesus, bring gifts to children on the night before the Epiphany – January 5th.

In main towns all over Spain the Three Kings arrive bearing gifts of sweeties which are thrown to the crowds of excited children for whom sleep will be slow to come on this magical night.
In the morning, if they’ve been good they’ll find presents left by Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar. If they haven’t been good, they’ll find a lump of coal, but remarkably it seems no children are ever less than as good as gold 🙂

In La Orotava, as in many places on Tenerife, the Three Kings arrive on camels and this year Balthazar got a bit of a scare as his seat threatened to slip off and his camel decided he was going no further until it was all sorted out.

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