On that note, I offer you a brief education in one of the strangest Christmas characters currently under employ. He goes by the name of Sinterklaas and is celebrated in areas in and around Norther France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The stranger thing accompanying Mister Sinter. are his apparent black slaves called zwarte piets.
With Santa Pope, I'm not sure if Tithing can save you.
Trusted yet grossly misunderstood helper slave Zwarte Piet.
He traditionally arrives with his "entourage" on the shores of the Netherlands riding steamboat. This happens around the middle of November; after he has picked up his load of Oranges and Pomegranates from Spain. However fruit on a boat with a parade through the streets and slaves offering up tasty sweet Spanish fruit isn just the beginning.
Children in a predictable bid to curry favor with the aforementioned Saint. leave their shoes next to the fireplace or in today's modernized world, heating units. Now I know you're guessing that the shoes instead of socks by the fire is the big twist in the tradition; if you did you were wrong. The children are the ones that fill them first; with carrots and or hay for Sinterklaas. I imagine this is a carry over from the original belief that Sinterklaas rode a horse across the rooftops as opposed to steam ship.
After looting the booty from the kids shoes; Sinter. leaves behind candies, pastries and fruits.
Apparently as odd as these characters are; it's possibly the basis for our very own Santa Claus. The resemblances are there but thankfully sometime in New York it's said, he was reinvented; and thankfully so.
Ho Ho Ho! Sinterklaas has run aground!