I decided to blog today because I wanted to tell you about the German "Nikolaus". It's a catholic tradition that has deep roots in many parts of Europe. In Germany, everybody celebrates it, no matter their denomination - at least everybody who has a kid, but many couples do so too (why give up the nice traditions when you grow up?). On the evening of December 5th, you take out your boots and clean them as best as you can. Then place them in front of your door and go to sleep. In the night, Santa Claus will come! Just in case you wonder: he looks very much like Father Christmas, though sometimes, you see him all dressed in white like a bishop with that funny bishop cap and a golden cross on it.
The next morning, when you wake up, your boots will be filled with marzipan, a chocolate Santa Claus, nuts, mandarins, maybe a book or a CD (try to take the biggest boots you have, so even an Avalon Hardcover will fit!) and many other nice things - if you were a good kid, that is. If you were bad throughout the year, Santa Claus, or rather his nasty friend Knecht Rupprecht, who is dressed in black, will bring you a sort of stick with branches that your parents can use to educate you better. I remember my mother (sorry, I meant to say Knecht Rupprecht of course) once gave one to me and my sister. It seems we had been impossible that year (I have no recollection of that). To soften the blow, she decorated the stick with sweets. My sister and I were devastated and my mother never, ever dared to give us that stick again.
So clean up your boots tomorrow and place them in front of your door - but just to be on the safe side, tell the others in your house that you plan to adopt the German traditions, to make sure that Nikolaus comes to you too!