In Germany, Nikolaus is usually celebrated on a small scale. Many children put a boot called Nikolaus-Stiefel (Nikolaus boot) outside the front door on the night of 5 December. St. Nicholas fills the boot with gifts and sweets overnight, and at the same time checks up on the children to see if they were good, polite and helpful the last year. If they were not, they will have a tree branch (Rute) in their boots instead.
Sometimes a disguised Nikolaus also visits the children at school or in their homes and asks them if they have been good (sometimes ostensibly checking his golden book for their record), handing out presents on a per-behavior basis. This has become more lenient in recent decades.
my family is of german decent, so my uncle steve sent abbi a box from st nicholas. there was a letter from st nicholas and presents to put in abbi's shoes. she doesn't really have shoes right now, so we put out her slippers instead. :)
st nicholas sent her... a book, socks and a little stuffed hedgehog! so fun!!!
thanks st nicholas!!