Christmas in Gibraltar – Customs and Traditions

Gibraltar is an unique part of Europe, so how are the Christmas traditions there?

Gibraltar, a small, 2.6-mile British overseas territory, has some of the most diverse spots in Europe. If you want to spend your Christmas in the Mediterranean, then you should consider Gibraltar.

The beauty of Gibraltar does not wane even during the winter months. Although there can be a day or two when it rains from mid-November through January, Gibraltar guarantees you a top experience. The main street and different entertainment places are buzzing during the festive season.

When you arrive in Gibraltar you will feel the Christmas vibe because the people take this holiday very seriously. The streets are lined up with candlelight, decorations, and twinkling lights – creating the perfect Christmas experience.

If you are a traveler and you want to visit this Mediterranean jewel, then you should consider the Christmas period because people usually enjoy a wide array of fun activities.

Christmas customs and traditions in Gibraltar

Gibraltar is a blend of different cultures. The residents usually fill their balconies with glitz. You will find the malls, schools, and shops also decorated with lights, baubles, and tinsel. The Christmas period is a unique time for people in Gibraltar. The children usually have the best experience because they can mingle with other family members during this time. Here are some of the common Christmas traditions that you are going to find in Gibraltar.

Christmas trees in Gibraltar

This is a common tradition around Gibraltar as you will see some of the highly decorated Christmas trees. The Christmas season is one of the most challenging and physically demanding in Gibraltar. During this period, families will polish their tableware, hang up their Christmas decorations, and the most important – to get a Christmas tree.

The Christmas tree tradition dates back centuries and since the Gibraltarians have a large influence from the British people then you will find that they often follow the concept of looking for a perfect Christmas tree. While Christmas was rarely celebrated in Britain during the atheist regimes, the culture has picked up and you will find people celebrating it.

One of the common traditions is setting up a Christmas tree. The Christmas tree is set up and the male members of the family usually purchase the Christmas tree from the local vendors and the tradition is kept alive.


There is a common theme of hanging a mistletoe during the Christmas period. It is important to understand that this tradition dates back to the pagan period. It was considered a romantic symbol even though in earlier civilizations, it was often seen as a sacred thing.

The people who met under the mistletoe will come to peace and leave their fight immediately. During Christmas, you will find people putting them on their doors and it is a symbol of protection to anyone who enters the house.

Coin in the Christmas pudding

This is a common tradition that you are going to find in Gibraltar because of their ties to Britain. Christmas pudding is one of the most important dishes or snacks that has to be prepared during Christmas. The local people absolutely love this dish during the Christmas dinner.

The history of the pudding dates back to about the 4th century and over the years it has become a common tradition. The Christmas pudding had a silver coin baked into it and it is a type of fruit pudding.

This specific pudding dates back to the 14th century and it is made up of spices, wines, prunes, currants, and raisins. In the modern era, you might find that people often use a chickpea instead of a silver coin.

Christmas carols in Gibraltar

The Christmas caroling and recital of Christmas poems is a tradition that dates back to the 4th century. Over the years the country has undergone tremendous changes, and you will find people singing carols as they move from one place to another.

The custom is still observed by many people across Gibraltar, and it is common to see people gathering in churches, social halls, and even outdoors as they sing the Christmas carols. The holiday is a perfect time for family members to mingle and one of the most common themes is to consume a hearty meal after singing the Christmas carols. 

The meal will include vegetables, potatoes, roast turkey, and other kinds of stuffing. There are various local alcoholic drinks such as eggnog, mulled wine, and other types such as brandy or gin that Gibraltarians consume during the Christmas period.

Christmas gifts in Gibraltar

The culture of gifting is common in Britain and during your travel to Gibraltar, you will find that the local people often present gifts to each other during the Christmas period. In many Spanish-speaking countries, it is common to give gifts during Christmas, and while in some countries this is not the norm, Gibraltar is one of the regions where you will find people offering each other gifts.

Christmas crackers in Gibraltar

If you have been to one of the Christmas parties in Britain, then you are going to find that such culture is common in Gibraltar as well. The festive table is often pulled apart to show a small gift such as a Christmas riddle or a joke and it helps people to enjoy the different occasions.

Whenever they are pulled you will hear a cracking or snapping sound which is the main reason that they are called Christmas crackers. Crackers were created in the 19th century, and you can find them around Gibraltar. During the Christmas period they are on sale, and you can see them nearly everywhere.

Mince pies in Gibraltar

The mince pies are small pastries usually filled with dried fruits, currants, herbs, and spices. It is a common tradition to find that people eat them during the Christmas festivities. The name of the pie can be misleading because they are known are mincemeat pies, however, they do not contain any meat.

It is a popular delicacy in Gibraltar and the children usually leave it on Christmas Eve for Father Christmas. They often put a carrot inside for his reindeer as well.

Stacking shoeboxes

There is an old Gibraltarian tradition where the shoeboxes are filled with all kinds of presents such as toys, candies, and sweets. The purpose of shoeboxes is to help the less fortunate in society and it will give you a chance to contribute to making someone else smile during the Christmas period.

Christmas stockings hanging

The stockings are cleaned and hung on their windows, and it is believed that St. Nicholas or Santa Claus will fill them with all kinds of presents for the children. The presents vary from fruits, candies, and sweets.

There is a common belief in the Western world that children who behave badly during the year will get a lump of coal or twigs instead of presents. The reprimand is meant to keep the children on their best behavior.

Yorkshire pudding in Gibraltar

This is a common dish that people often eat during the Christmas period, and it is perfect with gravy. Many people outside Gibraltar and the United Kingdom might have not heard about it, however, it is a legendary treat.

The traditional British roast is never complete when there is no Yorkshire pudding. The pudding is made with homemade gravy. These should not be confused with sweet puddings because they are made with flour, eggs, milk, or water and they are then cooked in hot oil in the oven, and they will have a hole in the middle. 

Yorkshire puddings are more common in Gibraltar during the festive period.

Santa Claus

Santa Claus is among the main themes during Christmas in Gibraltar. Santa Claus is the most common Father Christmas name accepted around Britain. 

He is known for this because he will bring presents to the children and give them the perfect holiday season by handing out Christmas presents.

Boxing day in Gibraltar

Many people in Gibraltar celebrate Boxing Day as they consider it a perfect day for relaxing and meeting with people. The day is a perfect day for opening up gifts. Many people here will often open up their presents and if they do not like them, it is a tradition that they are boxed back and sent to the less fortunate in society. 

The Feast of St. Stephen or Boxing Day as it is commonly called is a holiday that is filled with fun activities and you will find that the local people enjoy some soccer games, and swimming in the ocean.

Let’s learn more about the Christmas in the neighboring countries and British territories:

Aurimas Bio

Hi there! I’m Aurimas, a man behind Go Look Explore. I’m passionate about hiking, exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, and everything outdoors related. Let’s connect.