A Traditional Spanish Christmas With Villa Plus

When Villa Plus  asked me which of their destinations I wanted to chose to help me create a festive celebration I knew it had to be the Costa Del Sol.  As a family this is one of our favourite holiday destinations and we would spend Christmas in the lovely fishing town of Nerja in a heartbeat.

We have visited Nerja nearly every year for 15 years so we know it very well. We regularly hire villas there which allows us to take in the local food and culture, whilst having a relaxed environment to chill out in at the same time.  We love trying the local food, and then visiting the markets to gather ingredients to recreate the dishes we’ve eaten.

As we haven’t been able to visit our favourite holiday destination this year with expecting a baby, teen taking exams and other things that life throws at you being able to create a Spanish Christmas at home was the next best thing.

Little Pudding and I visited the local Christmas market at Costa Del Nottingham to gather gifts for the family.  It was a bright day with blue sky, but there was a chill in the air that you wouldn’t experience on a Spanish holiday.  The Spanish culture is largely based on family traditions, especially at Christmas so spending time together, enjoying family meals and exchanging gifts plays a huge part in their celebrations.

Nottingham Christmas Market

The Spanish also have their fingers crossed for a big lottery win over Christmas.  On 22nd December the country has its eye on the El Gordo lottery draw.  The draw lasts all day and excitement builds as the search begins for the winning tickets.  In a vain hope that some of this Spanish luck would rub off on us we treated ourselves to a National Lottery ticket.  And you’ll never guess what, we actually had a little win! £25 will come in very handy for Christmas indeed.

So with presents wrapped and food bought, I set about creating a Spanish feast for the family.  Planning the meal was such fun.  My favourite starter is prawns (gambas) pil pil served with fresh bread.  I’ve eaten this so many times in tapas bars and restaurants in Spain, it really does conjure up memories of so many holidays.  It’s basically prawns served in sizzling olive oil, with garlic, chillies and paprika in traditional terracotta dishes. It’s a beautiful dish packed with flavour and has to come to the table sizzling hot.

Spanish Food Ideas

Roast lamb (cordero asado) is a traditional spanish christmas dish and is a meal I have eaten many times at the beach restaurants on Playa de Burriana, but never cooked myself.  I love lamb, but I worry with meat that it won’t be nice and tender.

I had nothing to worry about, my roast lamb came out perfectly and went down a storm with the family.  The lamb was cooked on a bed of potatoes, onion and garlic, with white wine for over 3 hours.  It was beautiful, served with vegetables it made the perfect celebratory meal.  There is something special about sharing good food with people you love as it appeals to all the generations and makes everyone smile.

Christmas Presents

If we were having our Christmas in Nerja, this would be our perfect Christmas family celebration, followed by a walk through the town to the Balcon De Europa to look at the Christmas lights before heading home for a nightcap.

If you could spend your Christmas somewhere warm, where would your ideal location be?

We were provided with a budget by Villa Plus to create a festive celebration.

Zena's Suitcase
Zena's Suitcase

Zena Goldman is a UK based travel, family & lifestyle blogger who left her 9-5 job behind in the not-for-profit sector to follow her creative dreams and enjoy a more flexible family life. She began writing Zena’s Suitcase in 2011 and shares the holidays and adventures she goes on with (and without) her 2 young daughters. She wishes her son would join them more often but he’s carving out his own dreams now and enjoying university life.

Since beginning Zena’s Suitcase she has worked with a number of brands and also has a regular monthly feature in the ASDA Good Living Magazine feature, ‘Ask The Expert’ where she shares helpful parenting tips. In 2018 she was also a finalist in the prestigious BIBs Awards for Social Media.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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  1. Rebecca
    December 14, 2014 / 10:41 pm

    My ideal location is a warm log cabin in snowdonia xx

  2. December 16, 2014 / 12:46 pm

    This must have been such fun to create. If I could spend Christmas somewhere warm it would be on a south Pacific island as that’s one big area I’ve never been. But seeing as I live in a pretty warm place where we never get a white Christmas what I’d really like is a guaranteed white Christmas, in Canada, Norway or Finland.
    Phoebe @ Lou Messugo recently posted…Little Robin RedbreastMy Profile

  3. December 16, 2014 / 1:22 pm

    I bet this was fun to recreate. If I had to choose a hot place for Christmas it would be on a South Pacific Island,just to be about as different as you can get. But as Ilive in a warm climate and never get a white Christmas what I’d really like would be to spend Christmas in the snow in a chalet in Canada or somewhere in Scandinavia.
    Phoebe @ Lou Messugo recently posted…Little Robin RedbreastMy Profile

  4. December 16, 2014 / 8:19 pm

    What a fabulous idea! I love the Spanish Festival of Navidad, on twelfth night. That’s when most of the gift giving occurs and everyone parties in the streets in the Canaries. I’ve been in Lanzarote twice for it, so much fun!
    Kate Thompson recently posted…Rockin’ RobinMy Profile

  5. December 17, 2014 / 10:39 am

    I actually just back from Barcelona, and I’m heading back to the Canaries in January so I know how you feel about a pre-Christmas in Spain! The country is just beautiful at any time of the year.

  6. agatapokutycka
    December 18, 2014 / 11:38 am

    What a wonderful celebration. Lucky you… you are going to have a double Christmas 🙂

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Whether you are looking for travel tips to make the most of your next cruise holiday or you need UK travel ideas we’ve got you covered on Zena’s Suitcase UK travel blog.  We started sharing our holiday and travel reviews in 2013, so if you can’t find the travel, family or lifestyle blog above you are after make sure you head over to the search bar to find what you need.  Think of us as one of the best travel blogs brimming with ideas to get you out and about with and without the kids.