On St. Nicholas Eve French children leave their shoes by the fireplace or radiator in hopes that they, too, will receive treats.
On Epiphany, the French often bake a Twelfth Night Cake called Galette des Rois. there is a a bean or tiny china doll baked inside, and the finder becomes the king or queen for the day.
In Italian folklore, Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy on Epiphany Eve in a similar way to St Nicholas or Santa Claus.
Pizzelle are traditional Italian waffle cookies made from flour, eggs, sugar, butter or vegetable oil, and flavoring. Pizzelle can be hard and crisp or soft and chewy depending on the ingredients and method of preparation.
Christkindl or Christkindel are diminutive versions of Christkind. Christkind and Belsnickel are also found among communities of Volga German descent in Argentina. A well-known figure is the Christkind at the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, which is represented by a young woman chosen every year for this task.
church bells are also important
Before the communist revolution, a character called Babouschka brought the children gifts. Like Italy's La Befana, the story is that Babouschka refused the Three Wise Men food and shelter on their journey to visit Christ Child. So now, according to tradition, she still roams the countryside visiting children's homes during Christmas.
The poinsettia is a commercially important plant species of the diverse spurge family. The species is indigenous to Mexico. It is particularly well known for its red and green foliage and is widely used in Christmas floral displays.
Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, or simply Santa, is a legendary figure of Western culture who is said to bring gifts to the homes of well-behaved children.
Santa Claus's reindeer form an imaginary team of flying reindeer traditionally held to pull the sleigh of Santa Claus and help him deliver Christmas gifts.