Christmas had always been a family occasion for me. No matter what we were doing, my brother and I would always spend Christmas Day at my parents. There would be the usual big dinner followed by board games, more food and the inevitable slump in front of the TV at the end of the day.
But after my brother got married and they wanted to spend a few Christmases alone as a new family, it became just me and my parents for Christmas Day and it began to feel just like a standard Sunday.
So I decided to mix it up a bit. Telling my parents I had decided I was going to go abroad for Christmas and it was up to them if they wanted to join me or not, they said if I could get a cheap enough deal, they would consider it. Cheap and Christmas break don’t necessarily go together and for a while, it was looking like another standard Christmas in the UK but finally, in mid-December, I found a hotel and flights package through Love Holidays for a week in the resort of Costa Teguise in Lanzarote over Christmas coming in at under £250 each. It was departing from Manchester, not our local airport, but even factoring in getting an airport hotel, doing a stay and park deal we found on Holiday Extras, and petrol, it still worked out a pretty bargainous deal.
We had gone away for Christmas once before, spending 3 weeks in Cyprus over Christmas and New Year when I was a teenager. Back then, Christmas at home had been a fun time of the year I always looked forward to and it was odd spending it away. As much as we enjoyed the holiday itself, Christmas felt weird an we all said we’d never do it again. But now as an adult, when Christmas was different anyway, it felt like the right time to give Christmas abroad another go.
Things did not get off to the best start when we arrived at the Oasis Lanz Beach Mate aparthotel to find they didn’t have our booking. We were told we had cancelled our booking, which obviously we would never have done, and had to use the hotel phone to contact Love Holidays to find out what had happened. It turned out they had accidentally cancelled the hotel portion of our trip.
Luckily, the hotel had a room we could have, although not the superior room we had booked. Without any other options, we took it and Love Holidays refunded us the difference.
The room was fine for the time we spent in it – a ground floor room with one bedroom and a bed-settee in the lounge, a fully equipped kitchen and a patio which opened out onto the hotel pool. It was also in a great location just a short walk from the beach and the main part of town but far enough away from the bars and clubs that it was nice and quiet for us.
We had been to the resort of Costa Teguise once before, again when I was a teenager, and were keen to find out if it had changed much from what we remembered so once the room drama was sorted and we had settled in, we ventured out into the evening to see if we could get our bearings and still remember our way around.
We found that the area hadn’t changed much at all, maybe a few more bars and clubs, especially of the British variety, which we would make sure to keep away from.
The next day was Christmas Eve’s Eve and unfortunately, a rare cloudy day on the island. We used the day to explore the area more now it was daylight, walking along the main stretch of beach, Playa de la Cucharas, to the small cove up by the five star Melia Salinas hotel, the beach we had mainly used on our last visit many years ago.
Continuing along the coast path, we eventually reached Playa de los Charcos, another small beach, where we sheltered from the wind in an already built stone windbreak and sat having lunch before walking back into town.
The sun making an appearance in the afternoon, we returned to our apartment and sat poolside, taking a dip in the pool to cool off, venturing out in the evening to a local pizza restaurant for dinner.
The weather improved on Christmas Eve but the strong winds made it too chilly to sit out on the main beach so instead, we followed the coast path around to Playa del Jablillo, the small cove by the Hotel Grand Teguise Playa, where it was more sheltered.
As the sun started to retreat in the late afternoon, we decided to go for a walk further along the coast path where we ended up at another small cove, Playa Bastian. It was a really pretty walk and it became a regular stroll for us over the course of the week.
The next day was Christmas Day and it was strange waking up to warm sunshine. We put a Christmas song playlist on in our apartment and opened the few presents we had brought away with us before walking to the beach. It was a great atmosphere on the beach and in the town with lots of people wearing Christmas shirts, hats and other adornments.
That evening, we had booked to eat out at a Steakhouse in town and while not the usual Christmas dinner, we really enjoyed our meal.
The rest of the week was more of the same, a really nice few days of sunshine and relaxation and when the time came to go home, we were sad that we had only booked to go away for a week.
While not the usual way to spend Christmas, we had really enjoyed our alternate celebrations and agreed we wouldn’t hesitate on going away for Christmas Day again in the future.