CHRISTMAS got a little bit closer on Thursday, as Spain’s state lottery company released its yearly advertisements for the world-famous December 22 draw, which will see €2.5 billion of prize money given out to the lucky winners. 

The Christmas lottery advertising campaign is as much of a tradition as the Christmas lottery itself, and this year there are three different spots. 

Released under the slogan “An extraordinary draw, full of extraordinary stories”, the three ads are based on real stories, with a common theme of the importance of sharing with our loved ones, as well as friendship. 

In the first, titled “Three Orchids”, a lighthouse operator discovers a lost Christmas lottery ticket with “Julia” written on it as well as the name of a florists, The Three Orchids. When the ticket turns out to have the winning number, rather than keeping the man he seeks out Julia and leaves the ticket on her counter without her seeing him. Julia is then seen on the news thanking the stranger, as he smiles at the television from a bar, considering his good deed.

The second advert, titled “Vika”, hints at the situation of Ukranians who have fled their country for Spain since the war broke out, and tells the story of a youngster who arrives at a company to work without speaking much Spanish. She is shown the ropes by her new colleague, who teaches her words such as “gloves” and explains the intricacies of the company vending machine. Her colleague then invites her to split a Christmas lottery ticket, explaining: “Here we have the custom of sharing the draw with people who are important to us, like friends.” “Friends?” Vika asks, smiling. “Of course, friends,” her colleague replies. 

The third, called “The Journey”, features a shepherd who receives a phonecall that prompts him to head to a hospital. On his journey through the Spanish countryside and cities he is accompanied by his sheep, who brave the snow, passing traffic and even traverse a petrol station forecourt. Once at the hospital he finds his friend, who has broken his hip. They share a lottery ticket, “to not break the tradition”. “But what have you done with the sheep?” his hospitalised friend asks. “I’ll tell you in a minute…,” he replies with a mischievous smile. 

Spain’s Christmas Lottery, or the Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad to give it its official name, is drawn on December 22 every year. The maximum jackpot is known as El Gordo, and the five-digit winning number is awarded €4 million. Tickets are usually shared, however, meaning a décimo, or 10th of that number, is worth €400,000 each. Famously, schoolchildren from Madrid’s San Ildefonso school – once for orphans – sing out the numbers at a ceremony that begins at 9am. The whole draw usually takes about four hours. 

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