Tomorrow, December 6th, is la fête de Saint Nicolas here in Marseille. According to www.about.com...
"French children put their shoes in front of the fireplace, in the hopes that Père Noël (aka Papa Noël) will fill them with gifts. Candy, fruit, nuts, and small toys will also be hung on the tree overnight. There's also Père Fouettard who gives out spankings to bad children (sort of the equivalent of Santa Claus giving coal to the naughty). In 1962, a law was passed decreeing that all letters written to Santa would responded to with a postcard. When a class writes a letter, each student gets a response." http://french.about.com/cs/culture/a/christmas.htm
I hope that they have a set of clean shoes specifically for this. Who wants feet smelling candy and fruit anyways?
And who actually responds to all the Santa letters? Someone, or a group of people out there, are reading through letters and sending out postcards. Think of the time and cost that goes into this. What do the reponses from Santa say?
And lastly, the spankings. If I had a choice between coal or spankings...hmm...what a hard decision to make.