On our recent trip to Estonia, I left my family in a small shop filled mostly with Russian souvenirs and trinkets, which went along well with the very Russian man running the shop.
While I was off trying to find cash so my son could buy a Russian hat, the proprietor started trying to sell things to my husband. Though there were no Christmas decorations anywhere in the store, there was a small mechanical Santa Claus that would climb up and down a chain near the cash register.
The man asked in a thick Russian accent, “You want buy Climbing Clown?” referring to the climbing Santa Claus. “This Climbing Clown. You like? You buy!”
I guess he calls it Climbing Clown until December, because it just wouldn’t make sense to sell a Christmas item in November. Pretty clever guy. Luckily, I showed up just in time to substitute the hat for the “Climbing Clown” purchase.
In Sweden, Santa delivers gifts personally.
Santa visits Swedish homes (after Donald Duck) to hand out gifts personally to the kids. Unfortunately, this usually happens after dad or another male member of the family has just stepped out to check for the newspaper and he misses Santa every year.
When my husband (often the only adult male at our Christmas celebrations) found out that the American Santa Claus visits children while they sleep, he happily accepted that tradition instead and that’s how our family celebrates.