The Swiss Santa “Samichlaus” arrives on December 6 without a sleigh or reindeer, but with a donkey and a companion and nuts, filled gingerbreads and mandarins in a burlap bag. Christmas presents will be delivered by the “Christkind” Christ Child.
Santa Claus comes to judge the Swiss children to see if they were naughty or nice. I still vividly remember when I was Kindergarten age when Santa came and I was scared as I had been told that the bad children would be stuck in “Schmutzli’s” bag and taken away. I also vaguely remember that I had to recite some kind of poem and the got a handful of nuts (peanuts, walnuts and brazil nuts) and a filled gingerbread (gingerbread filled with marzipan, it is yummy) and a mandarin.
Santa Claus Verse
This is one I still remember. I don’t think it was quite proper to say this one.
Saminigginäggi hinterem ofe stecki,
chumi wider füre bring mer nuss und biere.
Santa Claus, I am hiding behind the stove,
I will come back out if you give me nuts and pears.
Es Liechtli brännt im Tannewald,
was sött au das bedüüte?
Chund ächt de Samichlaus scho bald?
ich ghör es Glöggli lüüte.
Es isch de Chlaus mit scherem Schritt,
chömed, lueged gschwind!
Er treit en Sack vol Nüssli mit,
für alli liebe Chind.
I see a light in the forest
what does that mean?
Will Santa Claus be coming soon?
I hear a bell ringing.
It is Santa with heavy steps,
come quickly to see!
He’s carrying a bag full of nuts
for all the nice children.
Once the kids get too old for Santa, there are special foods the kids can help making, like the Grättimaa. It is a Santa Claus shaped out of a sweet yeast dough. I found this picture and info on this site.
The inspiration for this article came from this Newly Swissed article. This video from Swiss Info explains the story of the Swiss Santa quite well.