Belsnickle is a French/German tradition that celebrates the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6. Belsnickle is what I call a pre-Santa/ little helper elf who checks on kids about 3 weeks before Christmas. Kids put their shoes out the night of December 5, and Belsnickle fills them with candy or coal depending on how you are behaving.
When I was a child, Belsnickle would come and visit in person. He would bang on the door and scary the crap out of me and my step-brother. He looked like Santa but was a lot meaner than Santa. He would ask if we were being good and if he knew we weren't he would shake his switch at us. One year he scared the dog so badly she peed on my mom. And another year he wanted me to give up my blanket. Needless to say, I still have my blanket and it was many years afterwards until I put it away. Before he would leave he would give us a little gift and tell us to be good and to go to our rooms to think about how we can listen to our parents better. It wasn't until years later that I realized we did this so we wouldn't see him drive off in his truck. And I also found out that dad would leave a bottle of Jack in the garage for him.
The tradition still carries on today. Sadly, he has only shown up in person one year for Cassidy but she still knows he's watching because he puts something in our shoes every year. He even found us in WDW last year. And every year Cassidy tries to put her biggest shoe out in hoped that he'll fill it up. She even tries to use Erin's boots but we tell her he knows who's shoes belong to who and that's not going to work.
If you don't already do this, maybe try it this year and start a new tradition in your family.