In Switzerland, the 6 December is Samichlaustag. This is the day that St. Nicholas visits families, retirement homes, clubs, companies, schools and kindergartens. Dressed in a bright red cloak with gold trim more like a bishop than Santa, he comes bearing good wishes and gifts!  It is also common for you to make an appointment for Samichlaus to visit your family at home. Here he will be able to sit down with each child and one-on-one give a little report back to your kids about their annual behaviour. If they have been good he will give them a Samiclaus sack as a small present (and if not a stern warning and maybe a the little sack will not contain as many chocolates!).

So what is a classic Samichlaus sack? It is a little hessian bag filled with manadrins, raw peanuts, chocolate sweets as well as a decorated gingerbread.

But the tradition does not end there! Unique to Switerland is Santa’s side kick: Schmutzli or as I like to call him “Evil Santa”. He is also dressed in a hooded cloak but it is usually dark brown and his face is covered in soot and he is seen carry a broomstick. In the past, he would be the one to confront naughty little kids. Luckily, nowadays he quietly accompanies Samichlaus and is most likely carrying the large sack of goodies – for everyone!