Who delivers Catalan kids their Christmas’ presents?

The Red Cross aims to collect 55,000 toys for socially vulnerable children

A Tió de Nadal, looking forward to be beaten to defecate presents
A Tió de Nadal, looking forward to be beaten to defecate presents / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

December 24, 2017 12:12 PM

Children in Catalonia, and a big part of the world, are looking forward to the days ahead. Not only because the school is over until January 8, or because of the copious meals surrounded with family members. But, above all, because they are very likely to be flooded with presents, as every Christmas. How many they get depends on whether they behaved well or badly during the year.

Whether the kids are socially vulnerable also plays its role, but a number of initiatives to prevent any children from having presents makes it a lesser problem. For instance, Red Cross Catalonia aims to collect at least 55,000 toys by January 3 across the country. The NGO collected around 70,000 toys in the same campaign.

But, who delivers Catalan kids their Christmas’ presents?

Tió de Nadal, a smiling log that ‘defecates’ presents

Kids from Catalonia celebrate the Christmas holiday with a smiling log that poops out presents. The Tió de Nadal, meaning 'Christmas Log', is an old and widespread tradition in Catalonia.

Starting on December 8, children bundle it in blankets and feed the Tió de Nadal each night leading up to Christmas. On Christmas Eve, children beat the log while singing to make the him ‘defecate’ presents.

Scatology, very common for Christmas

While this might seem odd in other countries, it is absolutely normal in the country and no one is shocked at it. Indeed, scatology is common at Christmas, as a part from the Tió, the ‘caganer’ is also one of the most unique icons in Catalonia.

To be found in the nativity scene, it is a peasant wearing a traditional Catalan red barretina cap, white clothes with trousers pulled down…defecating.

Despite not being a Catalan tradition, on the night of 24 December Santa Claus also visits the houses of some children. Throughout the night he delivers the presents, which children can enjoy from the morning of December 25 on.

From the East, three Kings come on their camels

Coming from the Orient on their camels, the Three Kings deliver presents to Catalan children. Before delivering them, they receive letters from them, and so bring them gifts in the small hours of January 6, with the kids having welcomed them the day before in parades across the country.

According to the tradition, the Three Kings visit the houses of all the children in one night, such as Santa Claus with his reindeer does elsewhere. Before their arrival, children prepare a drink and food for each King, as well as for the camels. 

In the run-up to January 6, the Three Kings have little time to assess whether every children in Catalonia has behaved good enough to deserve the presents they have ordered by letter, but they have never been reported to be late from their long journey from the Orient.