Thursday, December 18, 2008


At the Christmas Market in Madrid's Plaza Mayor, Christmas trees, Santa Claus, snowmen (it barely snows) and ornaments have encroached on world of Nativity Scene figurines. Those lively villages spread over tables full of animals, mountains, innkeepers and lonely shepherds. But they no longer dominate the market.

I recalled the Lego insight, that boys build UP and girls build OUT. A tree rises to the ceiling, while a "Nacimiento" builds an extended community. Christmas in Spain may tilting toward the boy side.

Nacimientos, though, have a new trick: battery power. Boys goggled at the turning water-wheels, perpetually lucky fishermen, clothes-hanging washerwomen, and hammering blacksmiths. They pointed and grandparents plunked down their Euros.

Lucky boys and girls of Spain: they have two terrific ways to decorate and now, two gift occasions. They get gifts not just on Three Kings Day, but on Christmas day, too.

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