Saint Nicholas’ Day, observed on December 6 in Western Christian countries, December 5 in the Netherlands and December 19 in Eastern Christian countries, is the great day of Saint Nicholas. It is celebrated as a Christian festival with particular regard to his reputation as a bringer of gifts, as well as through the attendance of Mass or worship services.
Germany, Sankt Nikolaus is usually celebrated on a small scale. Many children put a boot called Nikolaus-Stiefel (Nikolaus boot) outside the front door on the night of 5 December. St. Nicholas fills the boot with gifts and sweets overnight, and at the same time checks up on the children to see if they were good, polite and helpful the last year. If they were not, they will have a stick (eine Rute) in their boots instead. Nicholas is often portrayed in Bavarian folklore as being accompan Knecht Ruprecht who inquires of the children if they have been saying their prayers, and if not, he shakes his bag of ashes at them, or beats them with a stick. Sometimes a Nikolaus impersonator also visits the children at school or in their homes and asks them if they have been good (sometimes checking his golden book for their record), handing out presents on the basis of their behavior.
The American Santa Claus, as well as the British Father Christmas, derive in part from Saint Nicholas and in part from the Dutch Sinterklaas, the saint’s name in that language. However the gift giving associated with these descendant figures is associated with Christmas Day rather than Saint Nicholas Day itself.