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Last year was the first time I didn’t go back to the UK for Christmas, and I discovered that an Ibiza Christmas is all about being with friends.
Although I have a young family, as do many of our friends, we don’t have our extended family here.
Christmas has become much more about get togethers at each other’s houses for communal potluck meals, drinks and parties or in restaurants and bars in the lead-up to the main event.
The fact that we’ve all had busy summers and didn’t get to spend much time with each other means we’re especially eager to hang out together.
I arrived on the island not knowing anyone, so I had no choice but to put myself out there and make new friends!
Luckily, Ibiza is an incredibly friendly place.
I met people through playing cricket and through work. I joined a co-working space. I went to fitness bootcamps on Santa Eulalia beach. If a bar or restaurant had a happy hour or social event, I would go to those, something I wouldn’t necessarily have done in the UK.
Often in my early days, I would eat dinner alone in a restaurant and people would invite me to join them at their table. Again, I think this is most unlikely to have happened in my London days.
When I got together with my partner Sophie, who is particularly good at talking to people, I met her friends too. These were often people that worked in the music industry here, which was how she earned a living at the time. Sophie has a daughter Maya, and we now have a son, Noah, so we met other parents through school activities.
Sophie is now a teacher at the Morna International School here so, more recently, we’ve tapped into a huge social hub of people of all nationalities.
Now our circle of friends is quite large and has become a bit of a community. We spend as much of our available free time together throughout the year. A day spent hanging out on the beach in October quickly becomes an invitation to a Christmas party.
Each year that goes by we meet more people whether through work or play and are invited to celebrate an Ibiza Christmas with them. It’s wonderful.
I love a traditional British Christmas, but I am also quite happy that things work a little differently over here and that I get to enjoy the best of both worlds. This year we’ll go the UK so we and the children can be with family. Before that, we’re making the most of the island in December.
That means taking the children to the Christmas Market on Vara de Rey in Ibiza Town and to see the big Christmas tree. It’s also fun to have a mulled wine in one of the bars. These are even more crowded at Christmas so it’s beginning to feel nice and festive.
If I want to add a British touch to an Ibiza Christmas, we now get Tesco products at the Food Co supermarket in Ibiza. Here I can buy things like turkey, Christmas pudding and the trimmings as well as Christmas Crackers, that peculiarly British tradition.
I do like introducing my international friends to British Christmas favourites. Last year, it was warm enough to have Christmas lunch outside. It was lovely, if a bit surreal, to have a British Christmas dinner in the Mediterranean sun.
Although we’re in the UK for Christmas this year, we hope to be back for New Year’s, which can be pretty lively. DC10, one of the better known clubs, always opens on 1st January. It didn’t happen last year of course but, all being well, there will be an extra special party this time round.
And, if I’m brave enough, I’ll join the Salinas beach dive on New Year’s Day. This was started by Vino & Co more than 10 years ago and is now hugely popular. Let’s hope it happens again this year.
If you’re in Ibiza, maybe I’ll see you there.
Happy Ibiza Christmas!
Written by Tim Stacey