by Amy Menchhofer
The holidays are upon us and it’s time to decorate your piso. Christmas trees, holiday lights, nativity scene figurines. Where in Madrid can you shop for decorations?
In a word – Plaza Mayor. The scene of a traditional, frenetic holiday market, the various stalls of the plaza offer all of the above and more. You’ll find entire stalls dedicated to the nativity scene and its players; the creation of a belen in Spain is clearly a labor of love. Detailed baby Jesus can set you back 100€ while smaller, less-important figures are available starting around 9€; stables run well into the hundreds. At the other stalls you’ll find artificial trees (ranging in height from one to ten feet), strings of lights, stockings, and poinsettias.
Although you can also certainly pick up your Christmas tree in the plaza, why not do something good for the world at the same time? Stop over at the Environmental Sciences School in Ciudad Universitaria where they offer potted holiday trees for “rent.” Pick out yours (free delivery for those measuring over 1.25m), dress it up for a few weeks, and once the holidays have passed return the tree to the school. They’ll then plant the tree in their own gardens or out in the wilderness surrounding Madrid. Trees start at 20€ and top-out at 160€ for a 12-foot monster.
Happy holidays and happy shopping!