McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

National News

December 25, 2013

Expatriates try to adapt elements of home for Christmas

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

"You can't get those anywhere around here," said Mar Tarres of Herndon, Va., who works for an international telecommunication company in Washington. (There is one online vendor, but the website might not be safe for work.) "I stock up on those when I'm in Spain."

Tarres helped organize the annual Christmas celebration of Washington area Catalonians this month in Rockville. Several dozen families gathered in a party room for another holiday ritual: children whacking the gifts out of a caga tio, the Catalan pooping log.

"This is very different," Tarres said. "We come from a very traditional Catholic country, but we do have a lot of these pagan traditions. They are very dear to us."

The caga tio is a hollowed log, sometimes real and sometimes papier-mache, with a happy face painted on one end. Grown-ups "feed" the log small packages before the ceremony, and then the kids descend with glee, pounding it until the gifts are, uh, delivered from the other end.

For the accompanying Christmas feast, many families order Spanish ham and bonbons from La Tienda, an online vendor based in Williamsburg, Va. But many will make a pilgrimage to Rodman's, the pharmacy-turned-gourmet grocery in the District of Columbia's Friendship Heights area that has become holiday central for expat communities in the Washington region.

At this time of year, the Rodman's parking lot is crammed with diplomatic license plates, its aisles are a babble of languages and the shelves are crowded with seasonal specialties from many a time zone: haggis from Scotland, Kipling mincemeat pies from Britain, Sachertorte from Vienna, Brazilian panettone, Spanish turron.

"People love to come and find these old friends from home, especially at this time of year," said Roy Rodman, who begins placing his overseas orders six months in advance. "Our sales double."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National News
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
NDN Video
Under Armour Launches Biggest Women's Campaign with Inspiring Ad NYPD chokehold death of Eric Garner was homicide: medical examiner Christina Aguilera Pulls a Demi Moore! Man with no arms throws first pitch Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2"
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.