Discover the pleasure of Christmas shopping and the sales at this time of year.

With winter comes Christmas, time to spend with the family, get-togethers with friends and goodwill in the form of presents. In Spain, shopping at this time of year is popular and great fun. The streets, squares and shops fill with carols, lights and colour, offering a host of ideas and suggestions that cannot fail to please.

Christmas street markets like the one in Plaza Mayor Square in Madrid are commonplace in many villages, towns and cities at this time of year. On the stalls at these markets you will, of course, find Christmas decorations and figures for the crib, but also toys, crafts, novelties and joke items with which to have a laugh at others' expense on 28 December, Spain's Innocent Saints' day. You can get information on these typical markets from the tourist office where you are staying. Don't forget to pop into the traditional shops either. There you will find items of handicrafts that are real gems for their quality and for the attention to detail that goes into making them. While out shopping, nothing better than taking a break to try the traditional sweets to be found at restaurants and cake shops at this time of year.

Make the most of the longer Christmas break in Spain to find the perfect gift. The holidays here go on until 6 January, the day the Three Wise Men arrive, loaded with presents for all those who have been good during the year. Stay on a while longer and you can also take advantage of the sales, that start on 7st January. They are the best opportunity to visit the most luxurious shops and shopping centres, with major discounts to be had. Time flies shopping in Spain. Come and see for yourself.

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