Call him Samichlaus, Pere Noel or Santa Claus, but hopeful signs of his impending arrival are everywhere. White lights deck the halls and homes, costumes are pressed for Dec. 6 parades, and the bake-off is on!
Our Swiss St. Nick arrives on a donkey not a sleigh and brings oranges rather than candy but the magic of this holiday seems to be universal despite its infamous commercialisation. How does Christmas retain its meaning? Researchers took a stab at answering that question last year.
Roland Hauri and Maurice Baumann from Bern University's department of theology interviewed 1,300 Swiss-German families and found a surprising consistency in their answers: tradition. Half said they will attend church, others said they will observe faith without attending, but most named the same family traditions that keep the spirit alive for them: a reading of the Nativity story, recitations by the kids, gifts, a tree, and the family meal.