This year, we spent Christmas with Todd and Anna, our friends who live in Hawaii Kai.

Anna is from Spain. Her parents live in Spain and are here for the holidays. There were quite a few of their Spanish friends at the party as well. It was fun and festive, with the different dialects conversing throughout their marine-front home. And I must say, I was impressed with the toddlers, as they, too, were bilingual.Visitors often bring traditions from their home to Hawaii, like this special Christmas celebration from Spain.

Looking at their beautiful Christmas tree, I noticed a little wooden log with a face, four wooden legs and a blanket draped over him. “What was that?” I asked.

Tio de Nadal is a Catalan character that’s also known as “Caga Tio,” or “Pooping Log.” Starting with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 8, Catalan families host a tio, which is a small hollow log propped up on two legs with a smiling face painted on one end. Each night the family gives the log a few morsels of food to “eat” and a blanket so it will “stay warm” throughout the evening.

On Christmas (or Christmas Eve), the family then orders the hollow log to “defecate” small gifts. Family members sing songs and hit the log with sticks in order to speed its “digestion,” and the log gradually drops gifts for everyone.A Spanish tradition in Hawaii. The Caga Tio “poops out” gifts on Christmas (or the Eve).

This was both unique and exciting and definitely a first for me. This experience showed me just how perse Hawaii may be; after all, we are the melting pot of the Pacific. It’s an example of how visitors that come to the islands bring their own unique traditions, which could possibly catch on in Hawaii and add more flavors to the mix.


  1. Nice post Kalei, sounds like you had a lot of fun. I love the pooping log…LOL. Matt and I spent Christmas with friends here in Vegas, great mix of people. Our hostess was from Honduras and she’s a fabulous cook! I did miss laulau though…first year I didn’t have any for Christmas. 😀

  2. It was a nice night with good people. A wonderfully unigue blend of ethnicticity! And ‘Tio’ was icing on the cake. Was truly fascinating!

  3. Glad you liked the Tio Kalei. It’s always a good laugh to watch the kids go at it with the stick. A little more info on the Tio – he lives in the mountains during the year and comes down around Christmas. Matias my 4 year old is constantly checking the mountains around Hawaii Kai, searching for a sighting of the Tio. It’s great to see his excitement when the Tio finally arrives for Christmas, “knocking” on our front gate and waiting quietly out on the sidewalk for Matias to let him in and give him some food and a blanket. To be more specific, the celebration is a Catalan one, i.e. from Catalunya, the north east region of Spain – Barcelona, Girona, Tarragona etc… If you ask a Spainard from Madrid or another region in Spain about the Tio – they may not know. Also – the Catalan people are a proud bunch and not all together content about being Spanish – they consider themselves Catalans first and foremost and if they must – Spanish 2nd. Since the Tio is a log that represents a pig and lives in the Mountains of Catalunya he fits in well in Hawaii – plenty of real pigs and real mountains here too. I’ve yet to run across anyone in Hawaii or otherwise who doesn’t get a kick out of watching the kids participate in this oddly fun custom. See you next year when the Tio comes down from his Mountain hideout.

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