Sign up early for a home visit from Samichlaus...

Celebrated on December 6th in Switzerland, St. Nicholas is a beautiful custom that families can look forward to. Less known amongst expats, St. Nicholas, who is known as Samichlaus in Swiss German, distributes treats such as chocolate, nuts and fruit to children. This differs somewhat from the Anglo-Saxon tradition of Father Christmas, the jolly man who delivers gifts and fills stockings just in time for Christmas Day.

 
The tradition dates back to the fourth century Nicholas of Myrna, a bishop who is the patron saint of children - hence why Samichlaus is often dressed as a bishop and does not necessarily always wear red, though he does sport a white beard. Accompanying him are his forbidding cane-wielding helpers, known as Schmutzli, whom have undergone an image softening as of late. St. Nicholas praises the children and points out the good things, but at the same time gains enough trust to point out where the children could improve.
 
St. Nicholas also does home visits for which registration is required and open as of now. Set the tone for upcoming Christmas at your household:
 
Zug
The procession will start at 5.30pm from the Gut Hirt Church on Saturday, November 30. Samichlaus tells a story in church and then distributes treats to the service. Visits to families take place December 1-9. Samichlaus speaks dialect, German and upon request English. Registration for home visits closes November 8. Signup and information (in German) here.
 
Baar
Samichlaus will be making his appearance on Saturday, November 30 at the Christchindlimärt (market). There will be a procession as well as a food and drinks stand led by Samichlaus. Visits to families take place between December 4-7. Samichlaus speaks only German. Registration for home visits closes November 20. Signup and information (in German) here.

Cham
A lantern service will be held on Saturday, November 30 starting at the Pfarreiheim in Cham at 6 pm. A procession follows. Visits to families take place between December 4-7. Registration for home visits closes November 11. Signup and information (in German) here.

Hünenberg
Celebrations will be held in the Church of the Holy Spirit on Wednesday, 5 December at 6.45pm. This will be followed by the distribution of presents to children and a procession with followers carrying cow bells, decorative lanterns and whips. Visits to families take place between December 4-7. Registration for home visits closes November 11. Signup and information (in German) here.

Oberwil
Since 1963, Samichlaus has been arriving by boat to Oberwil. Visitors can gather along the Artherstrasse at 5.25pm on Tuesday, 4 December and join the procession to Tellenörtli, where Samichlaus will be greeted with a song and then accompanied to the schoolhouse. Following performances by the pupils, Samichlaus will distribute sweet bread. Visits to families take place between 5 and 7 December. Registration for home visits closes 24 November. Signup sheets will be posted to all households directly. More information (in German) here.

Steinhausen
This year there will be a Chlauskafi at the Steinhausen chilbi, from October 25-27, on the parking lot near the Post. Registration for home visits closes November 17. Signup and information (in German) here.
 
Risch-Rotkreuz
A service will be held on Sunday, December 1 at 10.15 am where Samichlaus and his entourage will be present. Visits to families take place between December 1-6. Registration for home visits closes November 12. Signup and information (in German) here.
 
Unterägeri
On December 1, the annual Chlausaufyug takes place from 5pm whereby Samichlaus are available to meet familes at the Catholic Church Unterägeri. Visits to families take place between December 4-8. Registration for home visits closes 10 November. Signup and information (in German) here.
 
Oberägeri
On 5 December, the annual Chlauseseln takes place from 5pm whereby Samichlaus and his entourage make their way from door to door. Typically, Samichlaus who is accompanied by Schmutzli enters the house and presents the children with gingerbread, tangerines and nuts once they have recited a poem or a song. Visits to families take place upon request. Signup and information (in German) here.

A comprehensive list of all St. Nicholas events in Zug is available here.

Photos from St. Niklausgesellschaft der Stadt Zug.