In Germany and Poland on the evening before children put letters to the good saint along with carrots or other food for his white horse or donkey on a plate or in their shoes. These are left outside, under the bed, beside a radiator, or on a windowsill in hopes of finding goodies from St. Nicholas the next morning. During the night Sankt Nikolaus goes from house to house carrying a book in which all the children's deeds are written. If they have been good, he fills their plate, shoe or boot with delicious fruits, nuts and candies. If not, they may find potatoes, coal, or twigs.
In the Netherlands and Belgium, St. Nicholas arrived on a steamship from Spain to ride a white horse on his gift-giving rounds. Dutch television broadcasts the official arrival of St. Nicholas and his helper Zwarte Piet live to the nation.
During the next weeks children put out their shoes with wish-lists and a carrot or hay, or maybe a saucer of water, for the horse. When St. Nicholas happens by, the next morning children may find chocolate coins or initial letter, candy treats, pepernoten, and little gifts in their shoes. Everyone hopes for sweets, not coal or a little bag of salt. In the Netherlands, unlike other places, adults as well as children join in the fun. As the Dutch like an element of surprise, a small gift may be wrapped in a huge box, or it may be hidden and require following clues to discover where it is.
St. Nicholas, is a popular saint in Spain, has many churches dedicated to him. As a special devotion people make a Caminata in honor of Saint Nicolas of Bari.
To find out some more about how to celebrate the day like other countries...follow this lovely link.
P.S Tomorrow we have our Christmas Brunch in vonblum
so if you are in Barcelona, come see us