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12 not to be missed Christmas parties in Ibiza and Europe

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...FIESTAS

So, if we add everything up, it's not really been a great year has it? Where are the Three Wise Men when you need them, eh? However, one cherished gift that has made some of the past 12 months more bearable is music, and clubs offered us a safe space in which we could close our eyes and create our own Utopia. The festive period always comes up trumps (HO HO AHHH) in terms of excellent clubbing options because some DJs just want to get involved in the party as much you do. With all that in mind, we've gathered 12 Christmas parties from our beloved White Isle and Europe that are all set to bring you one festive step closer to 2017. Merry Christmas, one and all.


IBIZA

What: 9th Charity Christmas Party
Where: Pacha
When: 18 December from 17:00 until 21:00

Christmas is about sharing all the juicy love stuff with your nearest and dearest, but it's also a good time to think about those in need of a little extra love and support. Pacha is hosting charity event, 9 Fiesta solidaria Navideña, one week before Christmas Day and you're all invited. Gather the kids for a fun evening of shows, face-painting, clowns, games and much more. Entrance is just 5€ and funds raised will support Magna Pityusa and Apneef – charities that improve the lives of children with disabilities.

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What: Gala Night Playground Christmas Market & Fiesta
Where: Benimussa Park
When: 18 December from 16:00 until late

It arrives before the advent calendars have been emptied but it's guaranteed to ramp up festive spirit. The abandoned zoo is set to gather you all to enjoy an indoor musical market with authentic Ibiza vibes keeping you there until the midnight hour. There's plenty going on in terms of the line-up as you not only have Ibiza Sonica Radio inviting in sets from Clara Da Costa, Ernesto Altes, Karlos Sense and Secretario, but fellow local station, Ibiza Global Radio, will also be present with selectors Jean Cedric and Bianca Mandoiu. And taking care of the tunage from midnight until late in the Panda Room are Stephane Ghenacia, OHM-G and Ryan O Gorman. Guzzle mulled wine to warm your bellies and satisfy your appetites with traditional Christmas food and cakes from Gala Night and nosh from The Skinny Kitchen. Bring the kids along as there'll be a play area. Charity will also be at work here as all the stalls are raising money for charity, and the event itself is supporting The Nature Project and Animales y Mascotas de Ses Paisses y Can Bonet.

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What: Vintage by Sebastian Gamboa
Where: Pacha
When: Christmas Eve from 23:45 until 7:00

We're back at Pacha and this time it's for the clubbers who're after the jingle bell stuff. Ibiza born and bred DJ, Gamboa, is one of Pacha's resident artists who's been on the decks since the '90s. VINTAGE was a new concept to the island in 2011, and one which earned itself a reputation as being a must for anyone in Ibiza. If you haven't already sampled a taste, it's driving mission is to recreate the essence of the very first house music parties, with only a selection of the best classics from this beating genre. Gamboa has curated a line-up of Anna Tur, Angel Linde and saxophone talent, Anastasia McQueen.

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What: Laxmi Xmass
Where: Lamuella Ibiza
When: Christmas Eve from 23:30 to 6:00

Your host is Ibiza resident, Iris Laxmi Svelto, with a Christmas experience that will be artistically and spiritually inclined. San Juan's LaMuella restaurant was inspired by the idyllic planet in Douglas Adam's trilogy series, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Science fiction mixed with a psychedelic Christmas fiesta is a winner in our fantasy books. Lamuella is a space where artists gather to share art, fashion, artifacts from around the world, live music and electronica. This event will be bringing in UV décor, a solid soundsystem, psychedelic trance sets from Juan Mad, Diego, Basslion and Rudrark, Hypatia and Kikote. Affordable drinks is also a big promo highlight for this event, so check it out if stargazing, psytrance rave head is how you´d describe yourself.

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What: Christmas Party
Where: Eden
When: Christmas Day from 18:00 until 6:00

Eden's flirted with a little winter season temptation this year and it's set to see off 2016 with a festive 12-hour smasher. Christmas day is indeed very much a family affair in Ibiza and is therefore less about counting in a big techno beat and more about connections round the dinner table. Having said that, it's still Ibiza and no matter what the time of year, anything could happen. If you reach the point when verbally spoken BPMs is no longer serving your needs, get yourselves to the San Antonio haunt for an underground session from a selection of Ibiza-based DJs. Ready to go will be Dave Manta, Jean Cedric, Morritz, Remo, Kocis Souldrops, The Black Shaft, Thomas Gioia and Vidal Rodriguez.

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EUROPE

What: Shelter
Where: Shelter, Amsterdam, Netherlands
When: Christmas Eve from 23:00 until 7:00

We were lucky enough to check out this new club on the Amsterdam block when it officially opened its doors during ADE, and we weren't alone in giving it glowing feedback. Two months on and it's looking good for the repurposed industrial chamber. There's no better gift than jacking house or driving techno, and bestowing both of those things upon punters are Beesmunt Soundsystem, Trus'me, Red D and Daan Groeneyeld. It's a mixed bag of local DJs and international guests, which often results in an inspiring exchange of sounds.

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What: Cristian Varela 25 Years
Where: Family Club, Toledo, Spain
When: Christmas Eve from 23:55 until 7:00

If you know your techno stuff and count Spain as being one of the best breeding grounds for quality music, Cristian Varela is a name you'll be familiar with. And so you should, as he's been in the game for 25 solid years. Varela will be cutting between four turntables, and alongside him will be a host of Spanish DJs, including Karretero, Luis MF, Raul Parra, Victor D, and Fitsco and Eric Navas. The Family Club, which is in the Spanish province of Toledo, also boasts a long history with it opening its door in 1995, so it's all serious techno business for this Christmas brute.

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What: elrow Music
Where: elrow Castelldefels, Barcelona, Spain
When: Christmas Day from 17:00 until 5:00

Family is a word we're brandishing about like mince pies in this feature, but elrow is a brand that inspires a unique collectiveness that's rapidly taking over the planet. Not all families inspire an ambushing of inflatables and ridiculousness that land as the musical backdrop gives us some of the best house, tech house and techno to be heard, but that's elrow for you. It's all about the crew's homegrown residents for this one, with a line-up that includes Marc Maya, Toni Varga, George Privati, Mario Biani, Andres Campo, Ion Pananides and Alex Pott, among more. elrow's marathon sessions in its original home are always off the belter scale, and as a good portion of the tickets are already gone, a quick decision is needed if you want your HO HO HOs chanted to the noise from a plastic trumpet.

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What: Cocoon
Where: Kursaal, Arosa, Switzerland
When: Christmas Day from 22:00 until 5:00

It's only natural that we'd be keeping our beady eyes locked on where some of Ibiza's best parties are migrating to during the hibernation period, and after 17 years on the White Isle, Cocoon has become the beating heart of the island for techno lovers. It's been a busy winter season for Cocoon with events across the continents, and in the final days of 2016 we're following it to Swiss village, Arosa. A Cocoon Christmas in the romantic Schanfigg Valley with mountain peaks closing you into this snow-capped paradise – hey, what's not to love if you crave techno as much as you do snow and winter sports? Markus Fix, Einzelkind and Paul Lomax are the ones in control of the pads.

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What: Goat Serious
Where: Cocoricò, Riccione, Italy
When: Christmas Day from 23:00 until 6:00

Of all the internet's amusement powers, one of the things we should be most grateful for is regular access to witness anything concerning goats. Rarely are we left feeling serious after stalking goats online, but that's what this party's ethos is all about - intentional confusion. It's anti-clubbing and its given purpose is to provoke and troll the bad habits of clubbing - namely taking itself too seriously. This Christmas rave will be the promoter's third, and adding meat to its bones on this occasion is special guest, Red Axes, and residents, Margot and Armonica. Cocorico regularly enters the charts as one of the best clubbing venues on the planet and it gets a special mention from a long line of big names from the techno quarter. EDM, house and techno is what you're getting should you go. Stick on any screaming goat compilation before you sink too many shots of Grappa.

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What: Sonic Culture with Ben Klock
Where: Gare Porto, Porto, Portugal
When: Christmas Day from 23:30 to 7:00

His work ethic is relentless and he's dedicated to his craft in a way that has him hailed as the undisputed leading techno DJ on the planet regularly. For Klock, touring is a drug and his adrenaline-packed schedule has him rising from behind that booth on Christmas Day itself. The Portuguese techno hotspot is keen to get the tradition rolling again with the festive return of the Berghain resident, and we're certain that this one is going to be packed out with a receptive crowd.

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What: Cream
Where: T13, Belfast, Northern Ireland
When: Boxing Day from 18:00 until 01:00

Let's buffer Cream's feathers a little bit here and repeat what will be a well-known fact for many: Ibiza has been home to Cream for over 21 years. Amnesia is gripped by trance mania every week during the summer months, and much like Cocoon, its winter is occupied with touring. Boxing Day brings it to one of Northern Ireland's revered event spaces, T13, and getting the venue filled is Gouryella, Cosmic Gate, Menno De Jong, Re-order and Genix. You may also know Gouryella as his trance alter ego, Ferry Corsten, however as the former he gave us a self-titled track that's a belter of a trance classic from the late '90s. Organisers are already excited for this biggie's stage productions and visuals from Justlites Creative, so expect an onslaught of lasers in what will be a standout show from the unrivalled trance masters.

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WORDS | Aimee Lawrence