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Blaze Forsby

Photographer, writer, and tour guide

Holiday Shopping in Barcelona: Christmas

Where to buy Christmas presents

About this guide

Though not the most obvious choice for winter holidays, Barcelona around Christmas is a pure delight. You get mild weather with lots of sun, streets lit with millions of lights, Christmas trees, rowdy carolers, and hundreds of Santas parading through the streets on motorcycles. It is also a chance to explore (or maybe even become a part of) all the peculiar Catalan Christmas traditions. This list will introduce you to some of these delightfully odd customs. Plus, you will get tips on where to buy some artisanal presents to share the Catalan Christmas spirit with your loved ones.

Christams Fairs

The first place you should go to get acquainted with Catalan holiday traditions is Barcelona’s Christmas fairs. They offer a great opportunity to buy some truly unique artisanal gifts!

Here, you can find a rich assortment of bizarre Catalan Christmas characters. The first of them is Tió de Nadal. It is the famous log that poops out presents. Instead of waiting for Santa to arrive, on Christmas Eve, little Catalans beat tió with a stick singing a song and ordering him to shit the gifts.

Next are the merry caganers, the figurines of pooping men. Traditionally, they are a part of nativity scenes. However, these days they do caganers as various celebrities - from Donald Trump to the Pope. It is a humble reminder that we’re all human, and even the most famous of us have to poop.

Finally, you can buy some of the more conventional ‘pessebre’ figures. Pessebre: that is how Catalans call the nativity scenes. In Barcelona they are usually very elaborate and placed by the Christmas tree. A handmade figurine will be a beautiful souvenir or memorable present.

The fairs are also a place to get your Christmas tree, festive wreaths and decorations, artisanal toys and jewelry, ceramics, and artwork. Plus, it is a place to delight yourself with a variety of sweets, like the traditional nougat known as torró (turron). Other treats include wafer sticks called ‘neules,’ small delicious ‘panellets’ (small marzipan cookies), and ‘cocas’ (sweet bread with nuts and candied fruit). And don’t forget to buy the delicious Roscón de Reis – a cake in the shape of a crown, which is known as a traditional Three Kings’ Day dessert!

Christams Fairs

Fira de Santa Llúcia

🎄 Large fair by the Barcelona Cathedral
Blaze Forsby

Blaze Forsby

The oldest and most popular Barcelona Christmas market dates back to 1786. It has over 200 stalls selling Christmas trees and traditional decorations (but no food, alas!). It is open from November 23rd to December 23rd.

Fira de Nadal a la Sagrada Família

🎁 Holiday market by the Sagrada Familia
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Sergio
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The 2nd biggest Christmas fair where you can find artisanal gifts, arts and crafts, and decorations. This is the place to go for traditional foods – nougat, churros, honey, cheeses and sausages, baked sweet potatoes, roasted chestnuts, etc. Open from November 23rd to December 23rd.

Fira de Reis Magos de la Gran Vía

🦌 Christmas fair in the Example neighborhood
Blaze Forsby

Blaze Forsby

Also called the Fair of Saint Thomas or the Epiphany Fair, it has its origins in 1877. This fair mostly features toys and gifts for the little ones. Good thing that it keeps open after Christmas. Come here from December 15th to January 6th.

Käthe Wohlfahrt

🎅🏻 Magical fairyland
Blaze Forsby

Blaze Forsby

While not originally from Barcelona, this shop has truly become a Christmas hotspot in recent years. The German chain store from Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber opened its doors in Barcelona in 2019 and brought to the Catalan capital its own brand of Christmas cheer with a typically Bavarian flavor. Conveniently located on Carrer dels Banys Nous, one of Barcelona’s most emblematic streets, it organically became a Christmas favorite for tourists and locals alike. The shop has been designed to look like a fairytale Christmas village, with staff greeting you in traditional Bavarian clothing and a massive tree in the middle sparkling with every ornament imaginable. So, even if you don’t end up buying anything, visiting it is still worthwhile, if only for a sheer dose of holiday magic to transport you back to your childhood! All of Käthe Wohlfahrt products are entirely hand-made and designed to satisfy all tastes – and you can even find unique pieces inspired by Catalan holiday traditions and Gaudi designs. Don’t forget to take an obligatory selfie with a huge Nutcracker by the entrance for a full experience!

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