Only in the last decade or so, American movies and television have brought the concept of Santa Claus into Spain. Previously it was the sole job of the Three Wise Kings to magically bring presents to children. The main problem Santa faces in Spain is that none of the houses have chimneys. Children aren’t stupid. They might be able to side step rational thought when it comes to a fat man flying through the sky visiting every house in the world, but it would be ridiculous to expect the intruder to be able to walk through walls. But every Spanish house has one clear entry point to a gravity defying invader: the balcony.
Although I’ve only been living in Spain for 2.5 years, I’ve been visiting Spain for Christmas for over five years, so I can be fairly certain that what I’m about to describe is a new phenomenon only about 2-3 years old. Someone, a couple years ago, had the idea to make a little stuffed Santa Claus (called Papa Noel around these parts) and hang him from the balcony as if he were trying to get into the house with a sack full of presents. The cleverness of this idea was appreciated it spread like a highly contagious meme. Now all the decoration shops contain various versions of this cat burglar Santa, sometimes he’s just grabbing hold of the balcony railing, and other times he’s on a ladder. Being a native of the country that popularized this image of the jolly old myth, I find this adaptation particularly amusing.