Best season of the year: Celebrating the holidays in Bodrum

LEYLA YVONNE ERGIL
Published 09.12.2019 14:59
Updated 20.12.2019 02:15
Thanks to its mild weather, Bodrum, known as the Turkish Riviera, is one of the best places to spend the holiday season. iStock
Thanks to its mild weather, Bodrum, known as the "Turkish Riviera," is one of the best places to spend the holiday season. (iStock)

For many an expat who has chosen to make the summer hot spots in southern Turkey their second home, the holiday season is the best time of year

While in Istanbul it may feel like the heart of winter is near, down south in Turkey’s popular vacation destinations, the air is crisp, the sun is shining bright, the days are still light and life has settled into a comfortable and pleasant routine for expats who reside there.

As a Californian native who has made Bodrum my home, in my opinion, surprisingly, the holiday season is an especially opportune time to enjoy all the region has to offer. While the crowds have come and gone, those left in town are expats who have chosen to adopt Turkey as their forever home. And funnily enough, winter months are when local residents mingle more, enjoy regular get-togethers and have time to embark on different projects, whether it be taking classes, volunteering or just getting out and about to enjoy the non-sweltering weather.

Christmas events in Bodrum

So, what are some of the highlights coming up this winter in Bodrum? Well, every holiday season the municipality in Bodrum hosts a special party to celebrate the foreign community living in the region in honor of their Christmas holiday. This festive affair serves as one of the biggest gatherings of the year among the expat community. This tradition has continued for nearly two decades now, and the event has been held in various venues in Bodrum over the years. This year, the Municipality Christmas Party for the expat community will take place in the evening on Thursday, Dec. 26, aka "Boxing Day," and will be held at Trafo, which is a spectacular municipality-run cafe right on the sea in the heart of Bodrum.

There is certainly no lack of holiday spirit, as this year there are a number of Christmas-themed events being thrown for and by the expat community to keep the traditions of what is the most important celebration in the Western world alive and thriving in Bodrum.

In addition to the Municipality Christmas Party, the Trafo municipality cafe will also be hosting a Pop-up New Year Pop Choir for the children on Friday, Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m. The lyrics for the Christmas carols that will be sung have been posted on Facebook so the young ones can practice.

Then, on Sunday, Dec. 15, Trafo will also be holding a holiday market starting at 4 p.m. that will feature a performance by the children in the pop-up choir.

For years now, Vira's Restaurant and Hotel, situated along the sea in Ortakent, has been one of the most popular venues to enjoy a Christmas dinner among the expat community and this year is no different. However, in addition to hosting a traditional Christmas meal, which will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 25, starting at 1 p.m., this year Vira's will also be holding a pre-Christmas lunch that will take place on Friday, Dec. 13, starting at noon.

A newcomer to the scene, The Jukebox pub located in Bodrum's Gümbet neighborhood will be hosting three separate events for the children and charity.

On Friday, Dec. 20, there will be a gingerbread house competition taking place at The Jukebox from 7 p.m. onward. The competition will be held in three different categories divided by children up to 8, from age 8 to 14 and 14 +. There will be a prize for the winning house in each category and then all of the gingerbread houses will be auctioned off at their charity event two days later.

On Saturday, Dec. 21, there will be a Children's Christmas Workshop with Santa taking place at The Jukebox, starting at 4 p.m. Children will be able to take part in making crafts and playing games while also getting the opportunity to meet Santa in his grotto and receive an individualized gift. There will be a wide variety of workshops offered for the children such as making Christmas cards and tree decorations, and there will be face painting, Christmas coloring and puzzles. There will also be a buffet especially geared for children for TL 25, with the Santa visit costing TL 18. This is a charity fundraising event, so all proceeds will benefit local children's charities.

On Sunday, Dec. 22, there will be a Christmas Charity Shindig. Starting at 7:30 p.m., this event will have the adults dancing to live music by Del Santos to get you into the Christmas spirit. There will also be a huge prize raffle with luxury prizes.

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