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.
Usually 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.
Another 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