& New Year

Christmas decorations in a shopping centre in Ecuador
Christmas nativity scene in a walnut shell.
Christmas decorations in Ecuador
Bread dough Christmas tree decorations

Useful Spanish Vocabulary:
La Navidad: Christmas
Año Nuevo: New Year

Año Viejo: Old Year, a stuffed figure to burn

Old year effigies burning to start the new year in Ecuador
Costumed participants in Atuntaqui´s New Year Parade

Christmas & New Year in Ecuador

Christmas in Ecuador is highly commercialised in the big cities, with xmas decorations in evidence from October onwards and festive music in the shops.  However, in remote rural areas you can almost escape Christmas altogether if you wish to, or at least have a peaceful Christmas holiday without all the hype and shopping.   
Christmas is an important religious festival in this predominantly Catholic country.  Ask around for details of Christmas services if you would like to attend the local church nativity mass or the "novena" with carols and readings in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  
Many homes in Ecuador will have a nativity scene with little models of the Christmas story at this time of year and roadside stalls sell the little figures and artificial moss needed for the creation of these festive scenarios, along with tinsel, lights, baubles and wrapping paper.  Nativity scenes and other Christmas decorations can be bought all year round in Calderón.
Ecuador's Christmas traditions include eating Christmas dinner at midnight on Christmas Eve, with the result that much of Christmas Day itself is spent recovering from eating Christmas dinner at midnight...  There is a good chance of a sunny Christmas even in the highlands of Ecuador.  Xmas on the beach, enjoying the warm weather and the fresh mangos that are in season in December, makes a pleasant change for the holiday season. 
Sweets and biscuits are given in huge quantities in Ecuador at Christmas and seem to take up most of the space in supermarkets during the holiday season.  Although Christmas presents are exchanged they are usually token gifts rather than extravagantly expensive purchases.
New Year in Ecuador is as much about the Old Year as the new.  Effigies are made of old clothes stuffed with newspaper and adorned with a mask.  Each of these represents the "Año Viejo" or Old Year, and they are burnt at midnight on New Year's Eve.  The idea is to leave any negativity or problems behind in the old year and start afresh.  A list of problems and worries may be written and put inside the effigy to be burnt.  Those who want to travel in the year to come might jump over the burning old year carrying a suitcase or rucksack.  Fireworks are set off at midnight too, so even if you don't find a new year party to attend, you will still see plenty of celebrations.  In Quito, from a reasonably high vantage point, you can expect to be watching several dozen firework displays simultaneously, with almost continuous fireworks from around 11.30pm to 12.30am.
New Year celebrations are often private family affairs, but look out for Old Year models sitting around in the street with attendants collecting money for fireworks and you may find a more public New Year event.  Ask at your hotel about any local new year celebrations.  The little town of Atuntaqui, for example, near to Ibarra in Imbabura Province, has a New Year parade with extravagant costumes. 
In Quito, Christmas is assumed to start pretty much straight after the Fiestas de Quito (6th December) and continue until after New Year, with the result that no-one does much work for several weeks.  If you're visiting for your Christmas holidays, this is rather fun, but business travellers should not expect to achieve much business in Quito during December.  
Book ahead if you want to spend the festive season in Ecuador, especially in the Galapagos Islands, where Christmas cruises are often booked solid more than a year in advance.  Christmas flights to Ecuador may be at a premium as it is tourist high season over Christmas and New Year.
Christmas Farmstays Holidays in Rural Ecuador

Christmas & New Year in Ecuador
Christmas holidays in Ecuador, nativity scenes & church services, Christmas traditions and Xmas dinner.  Escape Christmas in rural Ecuador, avoid the Christmas hype away from the big cities or even spend Christmas on the beach.
New Year in Ecuador, old year effigies and new year traditions, parades and New Year holidays.