When I was a child, Father Christmas, or Santa if you prefer, used to come on the night between 24th and 25th December.
But in Europe, things aren’t the same everywhere. Many countries celebrate during the evening of the 24th, and the Spanish (amongst others) celebrate the 6th of January as the day when the kings arrive.
In Switzerland, 6th December is the day that the man in red turns up.
Bearing gifts for the Children, he doesn’t sneak down the chimney, but comes through the front door. Or maybe to school.
And he doesn’t come alone. His sidekick, Schmutzli, leaves no doubt as to which side of the good cop/ bad cop divide he is on.
Generally you won’t be able to see Schmutzli’s face, and Santa’s conversation with the children is generally along the lines of "Now have you been good this year, or would you like to talk to the scary bloke?"
But hey, when your given Satsumas, Peanuts and Chocolate, what self-respecting child could want more?
The tradition works for adults too, in many offices desks will cower under the weight of the afore-mentioned goodies, meaning that cleaning staff have the great task of clearing up the peanut shells…
There often parades, like the one in the photo, in many towns and villages, so wherever you are, keep a look out for Samichlaus. And his mate.
Note: "a mate" for the English means a friend; not someone we want to mate with…