Because of the reality that the country is the meeting point of three distinct cultures, traditions to become observed during Christmas in Switzerland can be totally different from canton to canton, but all share distinct similarities.
Though Father Christmas (or Santa Claus) is expanding in reputation across the Christian planet, Switzerland maintains several of the old traditions of its French, Italian, and German-speaking locations, even though also having a couple of special traditions of its own. In the cantons nearer to German and Austrian borders, presents are given by St Nicholas (“Samichlaus”) with his dark, cane-wielding assistant “Schmutzli”. Christmas in Switzerland’s French and Italian-speaking cantons sees a substantially much more benign gift-giver inside the form of “Chauche-vieille” and “Befana” respectively. Both are ladies and only give bad youngsters coal or sugar lumps disguised as such, not corporal punishment.
These characters, even so, are only for ancillary gifts given either on the Feast Day of St Nicholas or Epiphany, ahead of or after December 25. Christmas in Switzerland sees the delivery of presents by “The Kid Jesus” – Christkind (German), Le petit Jsus (French), or Gesu Bambino (Italian). The angelic figure can also be believed to be a representation on the angel in charge of your guiding star of Bethlehem. Some aspects with the standard image of Father Christmas do pass over into the “Child Jesus”, with the angel’s preferred mode of transport getting a reindeer-drawn sleigh.
The actual delivery process of gifts appears to vary based on the canton, with some seeing Christkind going from house-to-house, accompanied by the tinkling of bells, to give out gifts. Alternatively wrapped presents are usually set out on Christmas Eve, once the tree is lastly put out and decorated.
The day of exchanging gifts can also be Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas Day in Americanised traditions. This can be usually followed by a stop by for the nearby church for midnight mass, followed from the family gathering to appreciate giant doughnuts (“ringli”) and hot chocolate.
Resulting from the truth that the country will be the meeting point of 3 distinct cultures, traditions to be observed during Christmas in Switzerland can be completely different from canton to canton, yet all share distinct similarities.