I am ashamed to admit that until I met my husband, I didn’t even know the Feast of St. Nicholas holiday existed. They celebrate it in the German parts of Switzerland with St. Nick and his heavy, Schmutzli.
Unlike the holiday in the US, in Switzerland St. Nicholas brings his thug buddy, Schmutzli, with him. For reasons I don’t fully understand, instead of reindeer, St. Nick usually shows up with donkey. Schmutzli is a dirty guy dressed in brown hooded cloak and smeared with soot. Unlike jolly old St. Nick, Schmutzli traditionally beat naughty children with a switch and carried them off in a sack to be eaten in the woods. Now, he’s a little bit less of a felon/child abductor. He passes out the goodies and delivers stern lectures on proper behavior. It’s pretty unique and highly entertaining, therefore, I’m giving Schmutzli two thumbs up.
Before he reformed his naughty ways, Schmutzli might have been even worse than that (see the illustration below). Then again, who’s seen Bad Santa.
By the way, if you are into metaphors, unlike in the US, St. Nicholas is slim in Switzerland.