It’s the most wonderful time of the year


Dean Martin famously crooned about letting it snow over the holidays, but those who’ve spent a lifetime of Christmases surrounded by the wet, cold white stuff will find themselves delighted when they discover the crisp, clear 16-degree days of an Ibiza yuletide. His fellow crooner Andy Williams had it right: It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The island’s roads and beaches are cleared of tourists, the weather is divine and the local towns and villages turn the charm volume all the way up to max.

There’s something about being in a port town around Christmas that brings out the Charles Dickens feels. Traipsing around La Marina with its sparkling lights glinting off the cobblestones, and the famous old town Dalt Vila, is one of the most romantic holiday strolls you can dream of – and some nights, you don’t even need a coat. The enormous Christmas tree at the end of the pedestrianised main square of Vara de Rey glows like a beacon of good cheer and the quaint little wooden huts that make up the Ibiza Christmas market are overflowing with handmade goodies. The scent of roasting chestnuts and the plaintive requests of small children asking for candied nuts and fruits add to the soundtrack of clinking yachts moored in the old marina. It's simply magical.


During the Christmas season, the students of Colegio de Nuestra Señora de la Consolación in Ibiza town present a living nativity scene, complete with medieval arts and crafts, angels and of course Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus. Even the most irreligious will be moved by their efforts, especially when the local children’s choir breaks out a few Christmas raps along with traditional Spanish carols. Nativity scenes have a strong tradition throughout all of Spain but if you wander through the Christmas market in Ibiza, you’ll be blessed to come across an artisan of incomparable skill. He creates miniature dioramas of the nativity, as well as meticulously constructed scenes of traditional Ibicenco life. Diminutive whitewashed farmhouses populated by tiny farmers and farmer’s wives baking bread, feeding the animals, drinking Hierbas Ibicencas and working the fields make for beautiful works of art and excellent 
Ibiza-themed Christmas gifts.

Keep an eye out for the region’s famous el caganer (which roughly and crudely translates to ‘the crapper’) and its various avatars. It's one tradition that’s hard to explain if you’re not from around here, but one that always elicits the most giggles out of young and old. This figure of a man dressed in traditional costume but with his pants down, crouching down on his haunches taking care of business (toilet business, that is) has been around for centuries, and over time, caricatures of the caganer have been made in the images of all kinds of pop culture characters, from Marilyn Monroe and Bart Simpson to famous football players, the pope and even the Dalai Lama. This year will no doubt see a certain USA president (and quite possibly a UK Prime Minister) depicted as the leader of the caganers. Defecation has a peculiar place in the local Christmas tradition with many homes hosting a Tío de Nadal. This wooden log painted with a smiling face and wearing a red hat is ‘fed’ in the weeks leading up to Christmas Eve, at which time the children of the house hit it with sticks ordering it to ‘poop’ its gifts of candy and nougat. Sure beats a lump of coal.

the christmas market in vara de rey has beautiful works of art and excellent ibiza-themeD christmas gifts

Ibiza’s imposing Cathedral, ironically named Our Lady of the Snows, is equally beautiful at this time of year and there is no better location for those attending mass or just wanting a quiet moment to reflect on the past year. If you prefer something a little less grand, the ancient village churches also host wonderful masses and other yuletide events. Christian faith is not a prerequisite to enjoying the incredible architecture and the general cheerfulness of the locals. Each little village transforms into a radiant display of happiness, with garlands of Christmas lights blooming across plazas, streets and storefronts. Unlike the pre-packed commercial cheer one finds in big cities, the Christmas love in Ibiza is authentic. And it’s also contagious, making it impossible for even the most hardened scrooge to repel the Christmas spirit.

Cosmopolitanism is Ibiza’s guiding principle and Christmas traditions crossover a multitude of cultures. This means you can find a Christmas event to join whether you’re Dutch, German, French or even Australian. Not everyone has the luxury (or for some, the irritation) that comes with a big family event and the island is crisscrossed with many so-called ‘orphans Christmas’ dinners, lunches, cocktails and any kind of gathering you can imagine. Cooking an indulgent dinner is not essential, as it’s perfectly acceptable to book a table at your favourite local restaurant and let someone else do the cooking (and the washing up, too!). Experiencing Christmas on a sun-drenched beach is not only the domain of those in the southern hemisphere.

As the days wend their way to New Year's Eve, Ibiza revels in its legendary party spirit for one last glittering shindig for the year. New Year's Eve in Ibiza attracts a global audience with people flying in from all over the world to attend fiestas at some of the islands most iconic clubs. This year, the main attractions are at Lío Ibiza with local DJs Sebastian Gamboa and Lunnas, and across the road at HEART Ibiza with none other than French DJ Bob Sinclar. 
Naturally, New Year’s Day is spent in recovery – but by recovery, we mean a goosebump-inducing swim in the sea at Las Salinas with thousands of other brave islanders, followed by a trip to the iconic Circo Loco party at DC-10 to round out the New Year in true Ibiza style. 

The hectic vibes experienced by most people navigating freezing northern European weather, pushy crowds and blaring commercialism is very far removed from Christmas and New Year in Ibiza. Here, it's possible to still experience the essence of what this time of year should be about. Things become simplified as the sun shines through the crisp days and stars twinkle in clear evening skies. It’s all about walks on the beach, easy-going gatherings and time spent with friends and family. From everyone here at 7Pines Kempinski Ibiza, we wish a very merry Christmas and a safe, prosperous and happy new year to our friends, family and followers across the world.


Katie Smith has written on 20.12.2019 - 15:24:

A beautiful & inspiring article. X

Andy Eastough has written on 21.12.2019 - 15:55:

Thanks for an incredible stay at 7 Pines in September. We have found our new home on the island and can’t wait to visit again in 2020. Have a fantastic Christmas and New Year! Andy & Karin

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