At this time of the year our family celebrate both English and Swiss traditions starting with the arrival of Samichlaus and his helper the Schmutzli on Dec 6th. They first appear in the local church accompanied by music and stories, at the end of the service they give out chocolate and little bread men called Grittibänz. As a special treat in our town you can 'order' St Nick and sometime during the evening he will appear at your door. This pic was taken at a friend's house some years ago, this particular St Nick was very tall and consequently had quite an impact on the kids, two of which hid under the bed! . He then reads from his big red book what each child has done well during the year and occasionally a 'could do better' list (which Mummy has pinned to the door for him to collect on his way in!) Usually, the kid's leave their shoes outside and in the morning they are filled with hessian bags of nuts, oranges and chocolate.