Yesterday was December 6th and Nikolaus came.
He actually visits between the 5th & 6th but the children only get to see the results of the visit on the morning of the 6th.
It's yet another tradition that Germany has that England doesn't and that we have therefore had to adopt. The children go to bed leaving cleaned boots waiting for St Nik, who visits in the middle of the night with his big book. In the book is written all the deeds and misdeeds of the children, if the children are thought to have been good then they wake in the morning to find their shoes filled with goodies - traditionally nuts, fruit and candles*, but if they've been bad then they might find potatoes, coal or twigs.
The first year we lived here Ben craftily told me that St Nik came on the 9th, he wanted to check out if he existed or not. This backfired splendidly on Ben, as my neighbour had decided to play at being St Nik to the ignorant Ausländers - I am forever in her debt as the look on his sceptical face as we left the house to go to school and discovered 2 little sacks of sweeties, was, as the ad says 'priceless'. It also meant that the small gifts I'd bought as the St Nik pressies could be held over till Christmas itself. Double whammy.
Since then I've managed to get with the programme and actually write the date in my diary so that I don't forget it, but I declared it a sweets only zone this year.
The children in Germany get their Christmas presents on the evening of December 24th and in England it's the morning of the 25th, consequently I stupidly made a rod for own back our first Christmas and the children got 1 present each on Christmas Eve (from German Santa - who I think is the Chriskind...but I need to look into that one further) and then their normal present load on Christmas morning. If you then add in the need to think of something for St Nik to bring on Dec 6th...it's a nightmare, so this year was just sweets & they seemed ok with that.
Ben has been regaling me with stories about what his friends received, Timo got a ticket to go and see 'Starlight Express', presumably the rest of his family also got tickets, which for Marcie (younger, gymnastic star of a brother) is probably really cool, but Timo isn't amused, especially as Ben has been to see it already and declared it to be pants (we all thought it was amazing but then since when have 13 year old boys been the epitomy of taste?) whilst Paul G got a new Quiksilver jacket that is apparently so garish he is probably visible from the space station, so I think Ben's quite happy with a haul of chocolate that is his and his alone.
* I think most kids would be straight on the phone to Childline if they found such items gifted them.