I decided to turn the tables for my latest interview, and ask Lanzarote Information’s founders, Julie and Mike, to share their Christmas story with us all.
I hope you will allow readers to peak into your world at Christmas Time?
Of course, fire away!
You produce a plethora of videos of lovely Lanzarote, showcase beautiful villas and apartments to rent, and generally provide fascinating facts and useful information about the island. Do you ever take a few days off from the business?
We don’t ever really take a few days off, for a couple of reasons – first of all we love what we do, and secondly, it only leads to a mountain of work to catch back up on.
But we’re good at managing our workload, so when we travel, for instance, we get up at 6AM, handle all the emails and tasks, head out and enjoy our day, and then have a quick work catch up in the evenings.
All you want for Christmas is: a. mince pies and blue skies. b: champagne cocktails and dinner. c: a negative flow test
B – without a doubt!
Will you leave nibbles and a glass of sherry out before you go to bed for Papa Noel?
Not these days, since the kids have grown up and left home. But we did when they were young, and we even used to leave a trail of flour leading to the door, so they could see where Papa Noel had walked in with the presents.
What will be in your shopping trolley that you can’t do without at this time of year?
Mike: I adore Roscon de Reyes, but it has to be the one made with fresh cream, rather than the sweet stuff. I always get mine at Arrieta Garage.
Julie: Cheese from Queso project, ideally a soft smelly one!
Who would you dress up as, if you were invited to a fancy dress party?
We dress up all the time – every carnival, of course, but also we seem to go to a lot of parties with a theme. We have a ton of clothes we’ve picked up over the years. We’ve been Anthony and Cleopatra, snowboarders, Sheiks, Smurfs, Dinosaurs and steam punks in the last few years.
Which board games are in your house? Do you like the intellectual challenge of Trivial Pursuit/ Scrabble or the cut and thrust of Monopoly?
Mike: We’ve had some epic Monopoly battles over the years, and Trivial Pursuit is always a winner. But reading is what I enjoy the most, and nothing beats sitting in the sun, with a good book, and music playing in the background.
Julie: I love phone games like Tetris and other block puzzles, so I play them in my downtime. But, like Mike, I’m an avid reader, and get through more than two books a week – my Kindle, and my Unlimited account, is heaven.
What is on your to-do-list on xmas day?
When we’re on the island, we always tour the three resorts – it’s such fun seeing visitors enjoying themselves and getting into the Christmas spirit. But in recent years, we’re more likely to be away.
Are you hosting family and friends, out to dine, or enjoying cocktails and calm at home?
We went through a period of a few years where we had Christmas lunch with the same group of friends on the island, alternating between our houses. But as the kids grew up, that stopped, and these days we tend to have our Christmas meal on the evening of the 24th, then spend the following day as above.
Do you have a Christmas playlist on repeat?
Yes, we have a huge Apple playlist of Christmas songs we’ve added to over the years. But Michael Buble is essential on Christmas morning.
What is the best and worst gift you’ve ever received?
Mike: My best was probably Rudy the Robot when I was 5! My worst, a nose hair trimmer!
Julie: My best was my first girl’s racing bike. My worst was a potato peeler.
Would you prefer the mountains or the city if you could travel for xmas?
We’re travelling this year, and until Covid, we usually did so at Christmas. We’re going to Madrid, Barcelona and Reykjavik. And in previous years, we’ve been to Berlin and northern France. As we live in very rural Haria, we like cities at Christmas, and ideally cold ones!
What is your favourite xmas ornament that you can’t ever get rid of?
We don’t really have one, but all the lights, inside and outside our house, are Smart lights, and we have half a dozen different Christmas displays we can set on them, which we love!
Fruitcake or Stollen? Mince Pies or Nougat? Polverones or Turron?
Mike: Stollen, mince pies (Brandy butter essential,) and Turron.
Julie: Fruit cake, mince pies and Turron.
Do you celebrate Noche Buena, Christmas Day or Los Reyes. Or all 3 and diet days in between?
Noche buena for us. But we love the King’s Parades on the 5th January too, and we always enjoy them, usually in Arrecife.
What will be definitely be on your Christmas dinner plate?
This year, who knows? But we both have a favourite meal – cold turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce sandwiches, with lashings of black pepper!
What do you definitely not want on your plate (sprouts are contentious in my home)?
We love sprouts and roasted parsnips. Neither of us are fond of bread sauce, or sweet potato.
Real or artificial tree, or none?
Agave tree from the garden, and we also have our own Poinsettia bushes and a pepper tree which reliably turn red every Christmas.
Are you likely to wear brightly coloured festive sweaters or Santa hats?
Yes, as we travel around the island on Christmas day, we always wear santa hats and t shirts printed with the Lanzarote Information logo, and ¡Feliz Navidad! on them.
Have you ever re-gifted something someone gave you?
We can’t think of a time we’ve done that, and probably wouldn’t admit it if we had!
Does your pet have a stocking?
We’re petless these days, since Louie, our German Shepherd cross rescued from Sara, died a couple of years ago. He always had treats for Christmas though. We’ve decided not to get another dog until we’re older and travelling less.
What is the first thing you do on Christmas morning?
Exchange our own gifts. And job 2 is to make the egg nog.
What’s your favourite holiday movies?
Love Actually – it has to be watched every year.
What’s your favourite Christmas activity on Lanzarote?
The King’s Parades. We love the children’s excitement, it’s contagious! And we also love the Beléns, where each village makes a nativity display. We make a point of visiting them all every year.
We used to take part in the Santa Parade in Puerto del Carmen every year, and that was always great fun too.
What would you consider to be your perfect Christmas day?
Exploring a new and interesting city, ideally with some snow.
What’s your funniest Christmas story?
Twenty years ago, we were living in Arrecife and looking forward to our first Spanish New Year’s Eve. We decided to have a family meal – beef wellington – then head out to join the party we were expecting in the streets of the capital.
We left our apartment at 11PM, thinking we’d have plenty of time to get somewhere lively for midnight, and the streets were deserted! It was like a ghost town, and every bar and restaurant was shut.
We hadn’t realised that on New Year’s Eve here, families always get together to enjoy their meal and eat their grapes at midnight.
Forlorn, we reached Playa del Reducto, and found a lone bar that was open, with one other family sitting outside at a table. The barman served us drinks, gave us a little pot of grapes each, and we sat there miserably, thinking New Year’s Eve would never be the same again.
As midnight struck, our little group of two families and our barman ate our grapes and limply wished each other Happy New Year.
And then it happened! Every door in the city burst open, very smartly dressed people flooded out onto the streets, a batucada band appeared from nowhere, fireworks filled the sky, and we suddenly realised that in Spain, the party STARTS at midnight.
It was the first of many epic Fin de Año parties for us, and like the ones that followed, it ended up at dawn, eating churros and drinking chocolate on the beach.
Feliz Navidad. Happy Christmas. Frohe Weihnachten. Glædelig jul. Bon Nadal. Joyeux Noel. Buon Natale. Feliz Nadal.
Finally, do you have some Christmas Photos you’d like to share with us?
Here you go: Click any image for captions and the gallery.