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I've written recently about advent calendars; the latest in delightful holiday rituals is Nikolaus, as the night between December 5th and December 6th is called here. Traditionally, children leave their boots out for Saint Nicholas to fill, and wake to either coal or sweets, je nachdem if they've been bad or good.  If you're very lucky, you don't even think to put your shoes out, but nevertheless wake to slippers full of gourmet chocolate from Denmark, Austria, Spain, Italy and Germany, and squeal with happy surprise and immediately whip out your camera to document the moment, groggy as you still are. And that evening you get to share your bounty with your own Saint Nick.


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