January 18, 2022

Christmas in Madrid

Elegant Christmas decorations

Madrid has a modest but confident elegance. It is not exactly sophisticated – like Paris. But it is stylish and simple, and it has a modern twist.

You can see this at Christmas time, with the way in which the city is illuminated.

They have several Christmas trees scattered around the centre. They are conical shaped, taking the form of trees, without actually being trees. Very modern. Beautifully coloured. Simple but stylish.

Christmas tree in Madrid, 2017
Another Christmas tree, this time in Chinchon, close to Madrid, December 2017
Another Christmas tree, this time in Chinchon, close to Madrid, December 2017
Christmas tree in Madrid, 2017
Madrid Christmas Tree, December 2019

Madrid decorations, December 2016

Children’s theatre

Like in most capital cities, Madrid boasts a fair few theatres, who do a lot of stuff over the Christmas period. Here is a poster of Pica-Pica featuring at least one member of the legendary Cantajuegos team. Both do Christmas shows, which are a bit of fun for the kids. Lots of singing and dancing.

Pica Pica poster, Madrid,
December 2017

Christmas towels or drapes

Its a curious feature of a Spanish Christmas. Many households hang out festive looking towels, with pictures of Baby Jesus on them. They’re often in bright red – so there’s no chance you’ll miss them.

Another towel with baby Jesus on it, Madrid Rio, December 2016
Yet another towel with baby Jesus on it, this one is orange, December 2016
Christmas towel, 2021

Some people chose to display both the image of Baby Jesus and the Spanish flag. What does this juxtaposition celebrate and signify? Ostensibly, both the birth of Baby Jesus and being Spanish. Not only is it Christmas! But we’re Spanish too! Result!

Towel with a picture of Christ as a baby, Chinchon, near Madrid,
December 2017

I have never seen anyone add a third flag celebrating some other aspect of their identity to the mix. For example, I’ve never seen a Real Madrid flag added. The fact that the juxtaposition of Baby Jesus with the Spanish flag, suggests the possibility that the householder is communicating, consciously or otherwise:

  • Allegiance to both the Catholic church and the Spanish state.
  • Membership of or allegiance to the most powerful tribe in Spanish society, the right wing religious tribe, whose influence and power manifests in the Catholic church, ownership of capital and the media and leadership and funding of right-wing politics. It communicates the sense of entitlement of the religious, capitalist right to the power they currently exercise. And perhaps, ultimately it is an expression and celebration of power of the ruling tribe in Spanish society, that cabal of religious nationalist capitalists, who own most of the money, land, media and political power in Spain. In this way the juxtaposition of the Baby Jesus and the Spanish flag are a demonstration of the power of this tribe, it is a celebration not just of religion, but of nationalism and capitalism.
  • In some ways this juxtaposition can also be perceived to speak to anti-democratic, fascist sentiment, given the recent history in Spain.

The Christmas Metro train

In 2021, the Madrid Metro dressed an entire metro train in Christmas decorations. This video shows the outside, but the inside was as equally impressive and if there hadn’t been so many people inside the carriage, I would have been able to video it too.


The food

The supermarkets are always a sight to behold at Christmas. You’re sure to see a few things that will take your breath away. A gigantic fish or a baby suckling pig.

A baby suckling pig for sale at Christmas time, Madrid,
December 2017
Percebes is a traditional Christmas seafood, December 2016