I grew up believing that Santa is a jolly fellow in a red suit with a white beard. The idea that he had a friend or shall we call it an accomplice called Krampus was never discussed in my house. And even though I traveled a bit as a child and was exposed to lots of different beliefs that were very different from mine, I was never taught that Santa came in so many variations.

I knew there was Santa and Saint Nichols but in my house they were the same person. Christmas was church and then presents. I was raised Catholic. That might explain why I had no idea that Santa had so many shapes and sizes around the globe. When I married my current husband we inherited his Mother's Santas from Around the World collection. The first Christmas we put it out I was instantly fascinated by just how many versions of Santa existed. The one that caught me complete by surprise was La Befana.

La Befana is from Italy and according to legend I found on Ottawa Italians online she missed her chance to tag along with the three Wise Men to bring gifts to the new Holy baby, so ever since she has been flying around on her broom on January 6th delivering gifts to boys and girls that she had wanted to give to the new Messiah. January 6th is know as Little Christmas or the Epiphany which also happens to translate in Greek to her name, Befana

Here's to hoping you believe in La Befana too.