Christmas in Spain is unlike Christmas in the United States. The Christmas season runs much longer. While in the United States it ends on Christmas Day, in Spain it continues to January 6th, Three Kings Day. There are many activities that go on during this time including, Christmas Eve (called Nochebuena), Christmas Day, New Years Eve (called Nochevieja) and the anticipation of the arrival of the Three Kings on January 6th. Also during this time is a very important lottery called «El Gordo» along with many other activities.
Because Spain has a strong religious history, Christmas is a more holy day than in the United States. Some gifts may be given, but mostly it is a time to spend with family. While Santa Claus is known in Spain, he is not as important. In fact in some places children are told that if they are bad Santa Claus will come and take them away.
The day that gifts are given is on Three Kings Day (el día de Reyes). This is keeping with the religious tradition that this was the day that the Three Kings (Los Tres Reyes Magos) arrived bearing gifts. Please read the sections below to learn more about Christmas in Spain.