With Christmas almost here, I thought it would be fitting to put up a little post about the Christmas traditions in Switzerland and how they differ from those in the States. First off, I do want to say that they have a Sankt Nikolaus, but he visits on Nikolaustag, which is December 6th
. Another difference is that he has a sidekick, Schmutzli. He’s a creepy, dirty (schmutzig = dirty) man with sticks and a sack and if you’ve been a bad child, he will beat you with those sticks and maybe even throw you into his sack and take you out into the forest! If you’ve been good, however, St. Nikolaus will leave you with chocolates, nuts and oranges.
For what Americans know as Christmas day, which is when St. Nick comes in the US, the Christkindli actually comes to leave gifts for the children. This is not like the baby Jesus coming (which is what I initially thought), but is more like an angel. Personally, I like the tradition of St. Nick having a sidekick to take care of the bad children but I think that will be a little difficult to pull off here, where no other kids know of Schmutzli…..but, we can always try 😉
Wishing everyone the best in 2014!