Christmas in South Tyrol
While elsewhere Santa Claus brings the gifts, for the children in South Tyrol it is the lovely Christ Child.
On the evening of 24th December, Christ Child brings the presents for the well-behaved children draping them under the Christmas tree that the family has festively decorated.
To let the Christ Child know which gifts the children would like to have for Christmas, they write him a letter with their parents including all their wishes already between the beginning and the middle of the Advent time. The letter is not sent by mail, but the Christ Child collects the small letters himself picking them up from the terraces and ledges.
Finally, it is Christmas Eve
In fact, the children are very excited long before Christmas Eve and cannot wait to see their gifts. They have helped to bake the Christmas cookies, have visited the Christmas market, have opened a window of their Advent calendars every morning, have decorated the Christmas tree and the set up the crib.
When Christmas Eve is finally here, many families go to the Mass in the afternoon taking place between 3 and 4 pm in many localities. Frequently, one member of the family stays at home – officially to prepare the Christmas meal or to allow the Christ Child to come in, unofficially to lay the gifts under the Christmas tree.
After the Mass, everybody returns home with the light of Bethlehem. Before the door to the warm living room and to the gifts opens up, the Christ Child has to give its OK ringing a bell. Merry Christmas!