Belgium is one of those lucky countries that has both a French-speaking Pere Noel and a Walloon-speaking St. Niklaas. Walloon is a dialect of French that is spoken in parts of Belgium.
Pere Noel visits children twice, first to identify who is naughty and nice and second to actually deliver the presents to the deserving children. He is accompanied by his friend, Pere Fouettard. While Pere Noel provides presents to good children, Pere Fouettard is known as the “Whipping Father” who punishes the naughty children with spankings.
St. Niklaas hands out presents in early December in honor of his feast day on December 6. This is a much more religious feast than other December holidays, so people spend most of the day in church and religious observation.
Some children receive presents on Christmas Day, as well. With all this gift-giving, it’s important to take a break from time to time and enjoy a restorative cookie. So try this recipe from Cooking Clarified and see if you don’t agree that the Belgians are some of the luckiest people during the month of December.