Thinking of flying out to do a bit of Christmas shopping? Maybe a good idea if you want to escape the crowded UK stores. In Spain, the shops tend to be more individual with specialist shops selling specific products, whereas in the UK, you can often almost buy everything under one roof. This offers convenience in a fast paced life and enables you to do all your shopping without getting wet.
However, here weather is not normally an issue and you can enjoy a dry browse along the high street in Estepona, Marbella or wherever you choose to shop.
If you prefer the convenience of buying everything under one roof and shopping in a mall, you still have that option here too; choose from Miramar in Fuengirola or La Canada in Marbella amongst many others. Even some of the high street names will be familiar to you such as Dorothy Perkins and Wallis, but that’s not really the point of doing your Christmas shopping in Spain. If you plan to buy everything in Spain, be warned that there isn’t half the choice that you find in the UK and you probably won’t save any money. Having said that, you could save money as you are more likely to buy only what you need due to the lack of choice and temptation.
There’s no doubt that Christmas shopping is a far less stressful process than in the UK as the Spanish have managed to keep it in perspective. Coming from the UK you may even find it a bit of an anti-climax after the imaginative array of gifts on offer in stores such as Marks and Spencer, Boots etc.
If you do decide to do Christmas shopping in Spain, take care with sizes when buying clothes. Sizes do vary considerably and where you might be a 40(12) in the UK, in shops such as Mango and Zara, you may find yourself needing a 42 or a 44. A man who wears an extra large in Marks and Spencer will have difficulty finding his size in Spain. The Spanish people tend to be smaller than the big boned Brits and the clothing manufacturers haven’t yet grasped the concept of putting a smaller size label on the clothes to make women feel good and buy more. Likewise, for obvious reasons I would avoid buying shoes even slippers in Spain as the shoes are often narrower than our UK fittings. I was always a size 5 (38) in the UK, but I now wear a 6 (39). I can explain why I now need much bigger clothes here, but unless the food is going to my feet, I can’t think why my feet have grown.
If you are thinking about buying toys for your children, there isn’t half the choice that there is in the UK. El Corte Ingles has a good selection but some might find it a bit "traditional" how all the ‘girls’ toys are clumped in one section and the ‘boys’ in another. You will find small toy shops in every town which are quite reminiscent of those that we had in the UK twenty plus years ago. A slightly more educational toy shop, similar to Early Centre but again not the same choice is Imaginarium. If you want your children to learn the Spanish language, it is certainly worth your while coming to buy books and DVDs to use as learning aids. In the larger shopping malls, there are book shops, some often combining music and books.
I personally will be visiting the UK to do my Christmas shopping and I can’t wait to soak up the commercialised Christmas spirit to the beat of Slade’s classic track. So, I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m heading for Marks and Spencer to try on some clothes and feel thin again!