You had better watch out – Samichlaus is coming to town

In Switzerland, Samichlaus / St Nikolaus / Santa Claus comes to visit on the 6th December.  He lives in the Black Forest (not the north pole) and ventures out with his scary looked black (usually painted black with coal) hooded helper ‘Schmutzli’ to visit children.  No reindeer or elves, just his grim reaper side kick and a donkey.  Samichlaus hands out treats to the kids – typically mandarins, peanuts, chocolate and gingerbread (lebkuchen).  But there is a catch, the child have to be good all year.  Parents let Samiclaus know in advance of their children’s behaviour  and give him a list of the good and bad things the kids have done in the past year.  If they are mostly bad then Schmutzli scoops them into his sack and carries them away.  I actually don’t think that is allowed, but children are warned that if they are bad, that might happen.

Not sure if I like this Samichlaus much – not much forgive and forget going on there!  I think I would have been a permanent resident of the Black Forest had I got a visit from him as a kid!  But as a parent, maybe it would be a good all year round bribery tool!

One traditional thing you do on Samiclaus day is eat Grittibänz.  Bread shaped like little clown men. I don’t know why.  But they are yum.  Toby loved eating the raisin eyes off then bit off its head.  My grossmueti made us some beautiful Grittibänz and we enjoyed mandarins, peanuts and other good traditional Samichlaus day food.

2 Responses to “You had better watch out – Samichlaus is coming to town”


  1. 1 Louise

    Those guys really are scary!!!

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