Spending Christmas 2011 in Lima, Peru

Things to Do — By Isabel Guerra on December 22, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Spending Christmas in Lima? Odds are that you will spend it at a friend’s home, or maybe with any members of your family already established here. Anyway, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the Peruvians’ ways to celebrate Christmas.

Jockey Plaza Christmas Tree Lima Peru Rodney Dodig

Christmas Tree at Jockey Plaza Shopping Center. Photo: (c) Rodney Dodig.

Here, the most important celebration is Christmas’ Eve, or Nochebuena; it’s a very late dinner (around midnight), with all the family, including children (at least, those old enough to stand being awake!).

You can expect a full table and a big, big dinner, Those families who can afford it will have a stuffed turkey; others will have many other different dishes; however, one thing you will see everywhere is the panetón, a kind of sweet Christmas cake.

One thing that makes Christmas Season in Peru very different is that it takes place in summer, not in winter. You may miss making a snowman or go skating, but you can enjoy almost anything else, including of course shopping!

Make sure to check the newspapers and ask your friends for season-related public activities: some local Municipalities organize band concerts at parks, some shopping malls prepare shows for kids; and of course, there are many street fairs.

So, if you are leaving Lima just before Christmas, you can still buy not only souvenirs, but also some very Peruvian gifts for your family and friends.

Other good options for shopping are the big malls like Larcomar or Jockey Plaza, as well as supermarkets like Wong and Vivanda. However, if you are trying to make the most of your budget, remember that places like the Indian Market usually prepare special offers for this time of the year.

Merry Christmas!