When I first heard about Nikolaus last year, I was a confused woman. Who on earth was Nikolaus and why was he getting candy to the children so early. Wanting to clear a few doubts, I went hunting for some information and here's what I found.
Nikolaus is not to be confused with Santa Claus. Each year on December 6, Germans remember the death of Nicholas of Myra, who died on that day in 346. He was a Greek bishop known for miracles and giving gifts secretly, and is now the patron saint of little children.
On the night of Dec 5, every child leaves outside a clean polished boot( polished to show that they have been good) for Nicholas to leave the candy. The custom began because St. Nicholas had a reputation of leaving secret gifts such as coins in people's shoes overnight.
P.S. Looks like I am gonna continue this custom even on return to India. I kind of like it and it is indeed a very nice way to remember the holy saint. My kids are having a ball what with the candy from Nikolaus and gifts from Santa on Christmas Eve..:D