Pere Noel puts treats in the shoes of well-behaved French children.
- He is joined in his travels by Pere Fouettard. Pere Fouettard is the one who provides the spankings to bad children.
- While wooden shoes were used historically, today chocolate wooden shoes are filled with candies to commemorate the holiday.
- Northern France celebrates St. Nicholas Eve on December 6th, so Pere Noel visits then and on Christmas Day.
There are several stories about Babouschka in Russia.
- One is that she put off traveling with the Wise Men to see the Baby Jesus, instead opting to have a party, and regretted it afterward.
- So she set out every year to find the baby Jesus and give Him her gifts. Instead, she does not find him and gives the gifts to the children she finds along the way.
- Another story is that she purposefully misled the wisemen, and soon realized her sin. She places gifts at the bedsides of Russian children, hoping that one of them is the baby Jesus and that He will forgive her sins.
Christmas shopping has been a tradition since the early 19th century.
- By 1820 stores advertised Christmas shopping, and by 1840 there were already separate holiday ads that featured Santa Claus.
- In 1890 the Salvation Army began dressing up unemployed workers as Santa and having them solicit donations throughout New York. You can still see those Santas outside stores and on street corners today.