Today is the feast of Saint Nicholas and here in Switzerland it is the day on which Samichlous brings gifts to all the good children. Unlike Sata Claus who visits elsewhere on a reindeer drawn sleigh with a sack full of toys and all sorts of gifts at Christmas, Samichlous arrives by donkey from the forest with his companion Schmutzli and he doesn’t bring a single toy with him. His gifts to the children are all edible: nuts (unshelled peanuts) and chocolates, mandarins and Lebkuchen.

EdibletreatsUsually each of the boys would just leave a boot outside and Samuchlous would fill each with some edible treats. Yesterday however my eldest went to visit Samichlous in the forest with his Kindergarten class and got an early gift of a sack of goodies. He had helped make his own sack in Kindergarten and of course he wanted to leave it out with his boot last night. Of course if one was leaving out a sack, then so too must the other so I quickly whipped one up featuring my christmas tree design and a quick embroidered name. This morning my boys were more than delighted to find that Samichlaus had filled both their boots and sacks.

Samichlaus bagsAnother 6th December tradition is the eating of Grittibänze. The Grittibänz is  bread man formed out of an enriched yeasted dough. I decided that rather than buy some Grittibänze it would be fun to make our own so this afternoon myself and my eldest son set to making a family of bread people. I was very happy with my own efforts

Grittibänze3and more than impressed with my son’s as he proved well able to shape the dough and snip it to shape with knife and scissors.

Grittibänze1Needless to say all four were much enjoyed along with plenty of nuts, chocolates and mandarins.

5 thoughts on “A Visit From Samichlous

  1. I love your Christmas story. So simple and fun. Here in the U.S. it is to commercial. I long for the days when I was a child and we made homemade decorations and looked for papa’s biggest sock to hang for Santa to fill with nuts and candy. Your homemade bread men are adorable. You are blesses.

  2. I remember a couple of Christmases when I was little, in Switzerland, and the story of Samichlaus. The first Christmas in Vancouver, my parents put up our tree, and it had candles, which they lit. Can you imagine? Caused a bit of flack in the neighbourhood, and the next year, we had lights!
    BTW–love the little bread men. :o)

  3. I too live in Switzerland (Geneva) but I haven’t seen as much about St Nicholas here, except from my Dutch friends. 🙂 Lots of the usual Christmas markets around though. Your little bread people are adorable! Enjoy the holidays!

  4. Hi Paula, it must have been very exciting for you all to enjoy the visit from Samichlaus. Deine Hefemenschen sind auch sehr gut gelungen. Hast Du auch mit Plätzchen backen angefangen?

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