Advent Calendar Project ’13 – Week 18

(For the 24 weeks leading up to December 1st, we’ll be making a Christmas ornament. Each one will be traditional to or inspired by a different country)

This week we are headed to Spain, more specifically the Catalonian region, for our Advent Calendar ornament. I have to say that I think this is the definitely the strangest, but definitely the most fun, ornament of this project so far. I give you Tió de Nadal also known as the Pooping (or Shitting) Log.
Advent Calendar Project '13 - Week 18
The tió traditionally is just a hollow log usually about a foot long. In more recent years, the log has gotten a face painted on it, two front legs to stand on and a red stocking cap. Starting on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, children give the log a little bit to eat every night and cover it with a blanket so he won’t be cold.

On Christmas Eve or Day, children go and pray for the log to bring a lot of presents. While they are out of the room praying, parents hide small gifts like candy, nuts and dried figs under the blanket. The children return, the log is put into the fireplace (if the home has a fireplace) and ordered to poop. To help make the tió poop, it is beaten with a stick while songs of Tió de Nadal are sung. There are lots of different songs, but here are two versions I found on Wklipedia.

“Caga tió,                                                   Shit log
caga torró,                                                shit nougats (turrón),
avellanes i mató,                                      hazelnuts and cottage cheese,
si no cagues bé                                         if you don’t shit well,
et daré un cop de bastó.                         I’ll hit you with a stick,
caga tió!”                                                   shit log!

“Caga tió,                                                   Shit log,
tió de Nadal,                                             log of Christmas,
no caguis arengades,                              don’t shit herrings,
que són massa salades                           which are too salty,
caga torrons                                             shit nougats (turrón)
que són més bons!”                                 which are much better!

With the words “caga tió” the log is hit hard and someone reaches under the blanket to remove a gift. This continues until the tió poops a herring, onion or head of garlic meaning there are no other gifts left. Gifts from the tió are meant to be shared with bigger personal gifts coming from the Three Wise Men.

So, let make our own miniature Tió to hang on the tree.

Tió de Nadal (or Pooping Log) Ornament


  • small branch, about 3/4″ – 1″ thick
  • fine point black Sharpie (optional)
  • acrylic paint in black, white and red
  • small piece of red felt
  • red thread (optional)
  • small square of fabric or more felt
  • 7/16″ screw eye
  • 1/8″ ribbon


  • wood saw
  • sandpaper
  • thin paintbrush or toothpicks
  • glue such as tacky glue
  • hand sewing needle (optional)
  • scissors

1. Cut the branch into a piece about 1 1/2″ inches long. Sand the cut ends smooth.
Advent Calendar Project '13 - Week 18
2. Paint a face on one cut end. I drew my face on with a pencil and then went over it with a fine point Sharpie (I checked first to make sure it wouldn’t bleed on my wood.). Then I added details with the paint using toothpicks instead of a paintbrush. Let dry.
Advent Calendar Project '13 - Week 18
All the pictures I found of Tiós online had a red nose and a big smile.

3. Make a small stocking cap from the red felt. Do this by cutting a triangle that is approximately 1 1/2 inches on all sides with the bottom side rounded off.
Advent Calendar Project '13 - Week 18
Glue or sew the triangle into a cone. I found it easier to sew. Then fold the point down over the seam and sew or glue into place. Glue on to the tió’s head.
Advent Calendar Project '13 - Week 18 Advent Calendar Project '13 - Week 18
4. Cut a small rectangle of fabric or more felt just big enough to go over the tió’s back. Poke the screw eye through the fabric and screw into the tió about mid-length. Glue the edge of the fabric down.
Advent Calendar Project '13 - Week 18
5. Cut two small pieces of the twig, about 3/8″ long. Glue to the bottom of the tió just slightly back from the face. Let dry.
Advent Calendar Project '13 - Week 18
6. Put the ribbon through the screw eye and tie into a loop to hang the ornament.
Advent Calendar Project '13 - Week 18
Bon Nadal! ¡Feliz Navidad

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One Comment to Advent Calendar Project ’13 – Week 18
    • DrRuss
    • This actually made me laugh out loud–as in guffaw. I had never heard of the this tradition but leave it up to you to find it. Well done, all around.

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