On December 6th, I was having a regular check-in meeting with a client. Philippe, a colleague based in Switzerland, joined the meeting. He began his update by showing us a photo of two characters and told us he would need to drop off the meeting a little early because his kids were going to have a visit with the two characters. Who were they? Samichlaus and Schmutzli.
He then began to explain that Samichlaus is the Santa Claus of Switzerland. Instead of visiting children on Christmas eve, he does so on December 6th, which is St. Nicholas Day. The celebration of this day goes back for centuries.
I was curious about this custom and did some further research to learn more.
Much like Santa, Samichlaus visits children wearing a red cloak, has a white beard and comes with a sack of presents like mandarin oranges, gingerbread cookies, chocolates or unshelled peanuts which he gives to those who have been good.