Der Belsnickel of Pennsylvania Dutch
Whether a chocolate mold under a cloche …
or a detailed hand carving from a thick block of wood, I simply love the old world charm of him — the precurser to our modern jolly Santa Claus.
“Nicholas in furs” is a rough translation of the word Belsnickel. Brought to America — Lanscaster County specifically — by German immigrants, it was usually an elder of the family who dressed up as Der Belsnickel. Who better to know who in the family deserves a lump of coal, hmmmm?
Der Belsnickel would have absolutely no qualms leaving a lump of coal for very bad children … and sweets and nuts for good children.