In Britain It's Holly........
..... but in Spain it's poinsettias! These colourful plants, originally from Mexico I believe, are the classic accompaniment to Christmas decorations; in flowerbeds, on roundabouts, along the central reservations of roads, on balconies, everywhere.
In Britain, it's the crib... in Spain, it's the Belén. The word Belén is the Spanish word for Bethlehem, and that is the scope of the Spanish 'crib'; an elaborate construction which encompasses the whole of the town of Bethlehem, and often too, the whole course of Jesus's life. Churches display them, obviously, but so also do town halls, shopping centres and even airports where you may find one in pride of place in the Check-In Hall.
There's a street market in Malaga every night at this time of year specialising in everything you want for your Christmas decorations.
Yesterday we went to Malaga on the lunchtime bus, checked into a hotel near the cathedral, and then spent the afternoon and evening wandering with the crowds, enjoying all the sites, pausing a couple of times to sit at a table on the pavement to drink a glass of wine and do a bit of people-watching, before finding a restaurant where we could get a table outside for a late dinner.
We did the same last year, and I think it is going to turn into a Christmas tradition. I had forgotten that last year we were delighted to find the pavement chestnut sellers with their braziers and the heady smell of roasting chestnuts; they were there again this year, so another pleasure was the paper cone filled with @2-worth of hot chestnuts to be eaten as we stood gazing at the lights disappearing into the distance in the Alameda. I think that's going to be a new tradition as well.
I've put my photos here so that you can see what I'm talking about.