So where was I? Right, the Christmas markets. So within the 12 or so stalls you can shop from, you can get decorations – and also fake Christmas trees – within all budgets. There are the cheap-ish plastic ones complete with strings of brightly coloured tinsel, santa hats, reindeer ears headbands and felted stockings (and one of these stalls also donates a portion of their profits to charity); then you go up a level and can get glossy glass baubles, beautiful angels and metres and metres of fairy lights. And lastly, you can get creative, with one entire stall dedicated to custom wreaths, garlands, table centrepieces and decorations made by a professional florist with natural and rustic materials. The stalls that sell trees also offer a styling service, decorating the tree under your guidance, then packing it all up for you to take home as a bundle (the thought of this makes me shudder, but I also understand not everyone is a Christmas pro like me).
The biggest novelty for me are the stalls selling all the individual parts to create your own nativity scene. This is a big thing here in Spain and you can pick and choose your palm trees, sheep, mangers, wise men, donkeys, baby Jesuses and so on, and so forth. It’s such an interesting tradition – made even more interesting by the fact all Catalan nativities feature a caganer (which roughly translates to a pooping peasant). Apparently the little pooper has been making an appearance since the 18th century, found squatting behind the manger, although he’s been updated in more recent years to some very irreverent (and blasphemous) characters, including the pooping Queen, the pooping Pope, pooping Yoda, pooping David Beckham – you name the celeb, they make it. You simply pick your favourite pooper and add him to your set!