The most joyous holiday is approaching … as everywhere else, Christmas is really special on the island. The lights are on, the Christmas tree is ready and lots of fun at the little Christmas houses in the center of town. Imagine Christmas magic without big crowds, without traffic jams and similar situations. If you want a relaxed and magical Christmas then Christmas on the island is the solution.
Hvar is known for summer, many tourists visit it, luxury yachts in the harbor and many cultural sights, but Hvar has its charms in winter, too. When ferries stop driving every hour or two, when the weather gets bad, these few catamarans, and sometimes even ferries, stay at the port in Split. When music is no longer heard in the city and many restaurants and cafe bars close their doors, then the island and all its beauty are experienced.
There are no strangers on the streets anymore, no English is heard on every corner, no flashing lights … just a couple of outdoor caffe bars and locals in their winter daily routines. In the winter, everyone is more relaxed, more often engaging in small conversations with each other, recounting their experiences and impressions from the last tourist season, and planning their own trips and vacations.
As with any city, decorations are ready, the Christmas tree in the square is decorated and ready to be the main symbol of Christmas on the island. The difference between Christmas in small towns versus big cities is obvious. In Hvar, we do not have dozens of Christmas houses, but only three, the streets are not full of visitors looking for a warm place to have a drink or eat something delicious. Mostly everybody is familiar with each other, and you say hello to everybody you encounter.
The atmosphere in the city versus the big cities is more family-friendly, safer and warmer … it may not have the amenities and fun like in bigger cities, but there is some warmth that cannot be experienced anywhere but on an island in winter. If you want to see “new” faces then just head to another city on the island … the atmosphere is the same, but at least there are different people.
Now let’s get back to the topic of this blog. Christmas on the island. Along with the already mentioned Christmas houses, which have already become a symbol of Advent, Christmas is felt on the streets, the city is being decorated, and every day we get a new decoration. People are gathering more and more, making suggestions for decorating, arranging dinners and other social meetings, and planning a Christmas Eve.
We don’t have much choice here on the island, either we stay at home, in a fireplace with a select company or out in the city, and most often it is a combination of both. In addition to Christmas Eve, in recent years there will also have a program throughout December where something can be found for everybody. For the youngest, the program runs during the day, and for those a little older in the evening. Various workshops and performances are organized for children, where the youngest can express their creativity and enrich their cultural knowledge, since frankly in other parts of the year there is a lack of it in Hvar.
As every year, Christmas comes and goes. Only good memories of getting together and many retellings of various events remain. After Christmas on the island, the notion of winter on Hvar gets its full potential. The decorations are taken off, the locals no longer meet on the waterfront. Only then does the winter on the island takes full potential.
Even then, stories and preparations for the coming season begin, and a few more months of the deserted island until it is filled with many tourists, busy workers and luxury yachts. The season will come and go and Christmas will live on the island again and bring many hidden joys that cannot be described on a few pages of text. You can only feel it if you ever have the opportunity to visit Hvar in winter.
Until then, I have attached a few Christmas photos below and wish you all a Merry Christmas.