I'm wrapping up (pardon the pun) my series on gifts to buy in Spain, though surely it will return next year. It occurred to me, following a conversation with a colleague who saw the blog and one of these entries, that many of you may have mistakenly thought I was getting some kind of compensation or profit for promoting these products.
Alas, that is not the case. I'm clearly not enterprising enough. I have featured products that I love, and that I want people to buy and help out their makers (and maybe even, in some small way, help Spain out of this economic crisis). So I didn't wait for producers to offer me pay, many of whom probably couldn't have. While I did notify them afterwards, it was as much to draw attention to the blog (among their fans) as to hope they might literally re-pay the kindness. Though I should say that often their response was quite kind and appreciative. Many thanked me for the attention, which flattered me since my blog itself is still quite a humble affair. One of the producers I featured offered to buy me a coffee the next time I passed through his town... but couldn't offer me any product.
Which is fine. I wouldn't expect that (I would _love it_ and appreciate it, but never _expect_ it). Many of these Spanish producers are humble, small-time businesses who can't throw away their margin of profit on such small-fry media advertisements on blogs. By shining some attention on them, rather than on the many tacky and cheesy things that tourists purchase here in Spain (that are "Made in China" and reproduce "Hemingway paradigm" stereotypes), my hope is to help out these locals in what has been a tough time for all. And in the process, provide a cultural study of things… since culture is not only to be appreciated, but also often to be consumed.
|One funny difference with Christmas in Spain are all the Santas climbing balconies...|
Since most Spaniards don't have a chimney, Santa has learned to enter by way of the "balcón".
So here I offer a recap of this season's gift ideas, since probably many of you will continue to go shopping over the holidays, particularly those of you who are visited by the Three Kings on January 6th and not by Santa tomorrow. And maybe some of you will be visited by family over the holidays, and they'll want to buy some souvenir to take back with them... not to mention the start of "rebajas" (post-holiday sales) shopping season starts January 7th, and you'll want to get those things that Santa forgot. These ten gift ideas are a great starting point for getting a taste of Spain:
6) Spanish jamón – While I didn't write this entry particularly thinking of gift ideas, its popularity among expat readers (gauged by comments and page hits) suggests that jamón would make for a nice gift for those of you residing in Spain.
9) A belén to decorate the home with during the holidays
And there are really still so many more gifts to recommend: Spanish lace products ("de encaje"), pottery ("alfarería"), abanicos (those classic Spanish hand fans), a Spanish soccer team jersey (Barça or Real Madrid... or maybe the Spanish National Selection's jersey)... Not to mention products that other expat bloggers have been recommending this season: assorted local hand-crafted products, classic Spanish Xmas sweets (e.g. turrón, mazapán) or other Spanish foods to take back home with you… and still more, I'm sure. So this is "to be continued" until next year. For now, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and wonderful holiday break! (Oh, and if you're still looking for ways to dress up your gifts or home with smart holiday decorations, you might check out these links on creative gift wrapping and seasonal home decor.)