Madrid: A Christmas Wonderland

Melanie Garza
December 7, 2021

¡Feliz casi Navidad! This is a shorter blog than normal, but in my opinion just as relevant. Now that December is here Madrid has turned into a bit of a Christmas town and it is AMAZING. It’s gotten colder but somehow it seems like there are even more people around the city, especially in the areas that have Christmas lights or shops. Personally, I hateee cold weather but being here and seeing the entire city light up at night has made it much more bearable. 

I think I’ve gotten used to Christmas in the United States being much more considerate of people who don’t celebrate it. In the States, it seems like a lot of places are trying their best not to shove Christmas down everyone’s throats so those who aren’t of Christian faith are not offended or feel left out. Honestly, I feel like today Christmas is no longer rooted in religion for everyone. Instead, people just like to celebrate to enjoy the season and the magic that comes with it, sometimes even people of different religions. I do appreciate the consideration in the U.S. toward other cultures and religions, but since this obviously means Christmas is somewhat suppressed in America, for those who want to celebrate Christmas in a magical place, then Europe is it. 

This is something I didn’t realize before coming to Madrid, so all the lights and little shops and things set up around the city have been such a beautiful surprise. Just walking down the street feels like a dream with lights hovering above the sidewalks and enormous colorful Christmas trees. I already love Christmas time, it’s my favorite holiday, so being here for it has been wonderful. I thought Madrid would get a little boring after it got cold if I’m being honest, but I’ve seen that is not even close to true. You can visit the cute little shops at Plaza Mayor, or just go to Puerta del Sol, or Gran Via, where you can do regular shopping but still feel like you're in a winter wonderland. There are also multiple ice skating rinks set up that are usually accompanied by beautiful Christmas trees and lights. I can't ice skate but I am definitely still gonna go because it just looks so pretty and fun. 

There are so many activities and places to see related to the season, I think if you don’t hate the cold then this might be the best time to visit Madrid. If you’re considering studying abroad in Madrid, then I’d say fall semester is definitely the move. You get both warm weather and cold weather, plus the bonus of being here for all this Christmas magic. I’m not sure what the city is like during spring semester, but it just feels like throughout this semester the city just keeps on giving and giving and never runs out of things to do. Overall, I’m extremely happy I decided to come when I did, I wish my family was here to see all the lights and things with me but I’m still happy I get to see it all. At this point, it’s just getting somewhat bittersweet since I have about two weeks left here. I’ve already made up my mind about coming back to visit in the future because I’ve just totally fallen in love with Madrid and all its Christmas and non-Christmas magic <3

Melanie Garza

<p>Hi, I’m Melanie! I’m a senior at Carnegie Mellon University, majoring in Physics. After graduation, I plan on attending graduate school in pursuit of a Ph.D. in Physics. While I love STEM, I also love the arts! I’m part of an a cappella group, I’m in my school’s non-major orchestra as a violinist, I like to draw and paint, and I’ve dabbled in some dance too. It’s important for me to keep a balance between all my interests, which also include working out (at the gym only - I am NOT athletic, unfortunately) and outdoor activities that don’t involve swimming since that’s something I can’t do. I know, shame. I’m really looking forward to exploring all my hobbies and interests in the context of a new culture. I am fluent in Spanish since I was raised in Mexico so Spain will be full of possibilities!</p>

Destination:
Term:
2021 Fall
Home university:
Carnegie Mellon University
Hometown:
Dallas, TX
Major:
Physics
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