Views #838 | Low-Intermediate 4

Swiss Santa

Anja discusses the legend of Santa Claus in Switzerland.
Fred: Hi, Anja. So, you're from Switzerland, right?

Anja: Yes, I am.

Fred: Oh, I was wondering because I was reading recently and I was wondering what were the traditions of Santa Claus in Switzerland?

Anja: Yes, they are quite different I guess from the rest of like America or Canada, because in fact we don't have Santa Claus bringing the Christmas, the presents, on Christmas.

Fred: You don't have a Santa Claus bringing presents?

Anja: Yeah, that's right. Like, we do have Santa Claus but he's coming on the sixth of December.

Fred: The Sixth of December! But us it's the 25th of December.

Anja: Yes, that's right.

Fred: Oh, wow, that's really different.

Anja: Yeah, indeed. Like Santa Claus will bring you presents but it's more like little like presents of nuts or mandarins, or little chocolates.

Fred: So he's bringing fruits for Christmas?

Anja: Yes, that's right.

Fred: Oh, OK.

Anja: Because, you know, Santa Claus, he's living in the forest so he....

Fred: Wait, wait, wait! Santa Claus lives in the forest. He doesn't live in the North Pole?

Anja: Yes, that's right. He lives in the forest.

Fred: Wow. OK.

Anja: With his little fellow that helps him, you know, collect all the fruits and nuts.

Fred: Are they elves?

Anja: No, no. It's just one guy, his friend, and it's a little bit difficult to say the name. You won't understand it. With him as his donkey. There's a donkey too. It helps him carry all the presents for the kids, so he will just come to the people's houses and ring a bell, and so, "I'm here."

Fred: He rings the bell?

Anja: That's right.

Fred: And he enters from the front door and then gives the gifts...

Anja: That's right.

Fred: Oh, he doesn't go through the chimney.

Anja: No, oh, yeah, that's right. He just enters the door like, the parents open the door, like, "Please come in" and the kids are usually hiding because they are really scared of Santa Claus. Oh, and one more thing, it's quite different, but like the Santa Claus, it's kind of a scary person because if you're actually bad, it's not only that you won't get presents, but he will also put you in a bag and take you away to the forest.

Fred: Santa Claus will put the in kids the bag?

Anja: Yes.

Fred: And then take them away?

Anja: Yes, if you were a bad boy or a bad girl he will do that.

Fred: Wow, that is something very different from our tradition in Canada. So who is the person that brings the presents on Christmas day?

Anja: Yes, that's a good point. Like we have an angel coming down from the heaven and bringing all the presents, actually, someone during the... at one point during the night.

Fred: An angel brings the presents on Christmas day and not Santa Claus, wow!

Anja: Yes.

Fred: I'm very surprised.

Anja: That's right.

Learn vocabulary from the lesson!

quite different


Switzerland's traditional Santa Claus is quite different from Canada's.

Quite different simply means very different.  Notice the following:

  1. Thai food and Mexican food are both spicy, but quite different.
  2. His idea of a relaxing weekend is quite different from hers.

little fellow


They believe Santa Claus lives in the forest with his little fellows.

Santa's 'little fellows' or helpers as they are sometimes called, are men who are much smaller than normal.  Notice the following:

  1. The little fellows worked long into the night.
  2. Mom, do Santa's little fellows have families?



In Switzerland, Santa Claus doesn't go through the chimney.

A 'chimney' is a hollow brick structure that allows smoke from a fireplace inside a house to escape to the air outside.  Notice the following:

  1. In Christmas stories, Santa always enters houses through the chimney.
  2. The house has an old red brick chimney.

scary person


They think of Santa Claus as a scary person.

A 'scary person' is someone who is for some reason, frightening.  Notice the following:

  1. My boss is a scary person when he's angry.
  2. She can be a scary person sometimes.

at one point


They believe it is an angel that brings presents at one point during Christmas.

The phrase 'at one point' is used to talk about a specific time when something happens.  Notice the following:

  1. At one point, the meeting had to be stopped.
  2. He did, at one point, ask my opinion.

Vocabulary Quiz

different • little fellows • chimney
scary person • at one point
  1. I used to think my neighbor was a really .
  2. We need to clean the before we make a fire.
  3. last night he was wearing a dress and singing on a table.
  4. My twin sister looks the same as me, but her personality is quite .
  5. Do the sleep in little beds?
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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