Here in Germany, there is a pre-Christmas tradition, Nikolaustag. St. Nicholas is celebrated mainly for the kids, I guess. St. Nicholas, much like Father Christmas in English speaking countries, comes round to visit on Dec. 6th, all dressed up in red and white. Kids are to recite a poem to him, and if they’ve been generally good all year, they receive little presents like a bag with orange, nuts, cookies and a little toy. However, in southern regions as well as in Austria, there is also the Krampus or Knecht Ruprecht coming along with Nikolaus. A hellish guy – I suppose, he is to depict a demon or the devil – who is dressed in dark fur, wears horns, and looks frightening. He carries a chain, with which he rattels alarmingly. On his back he wears a basket, into which all the kids are supposed to go, who have not been so good. Usually, after these visits, the family is still complete, so I guess, no kid has ever been basketed by Krampus. I vividly recall hiding out on Dec. 6th at home, as I never liked these hordes of young guys terrorising the neighbourhood, dressed up as devils. Probably the one time a year, I was glad, in our family no Christmas related customs were followed.
I don’t know, whether this still goes on in Austria, but here in Berlin, there is no bad guy, just St. Nicholas. Most often, there are just gifts, not even the good guy anymore.
This year, I thought it would be nice, to invite all our kid-members for a little winter golf and a marshmallow BBQ afterwards. I arranged for one elderly, tall man to dress up as St. Nicholas, complete in a red coat trimmed with white fur, a big white beard going nicely with his all white hair and a big sack filled with little gift bags full of nuts, fruit and cookies to be given to the kids. Best about this guy is his voice, as he also sounds the ho-ho-ho part. I thought it real nice, that he agreed instantly, when I asked him for this favour a couple of weeks back.
We have about 50 kids aged 12 or younger as members and I also invited non-members, who come to train with their school at our club. I am all excited to see, how many will turn up for this event today. I had to make it Saturday, as Dec. 6th was a regular school day and kids would have had no time to make it in daylight to the golf after school. What a pity, that it is supposed to rain today. The whole thing would be so much nicer, with some snow or frost around.