I'm a little surprised really that the American love for hallmark holidays stops short of introducing this gem. Don't get me wrong - I don't mind having a little corner of non-commercialized holiday left for my little self and the little internet.
Basically, this holiday celebrates a bishop (Nicholas), who took it upon himself to give the orphans in his community presents. Here's what you do:
December 5th may well be the one day of the year that kids in Germany clean their shoes (or at least those big horseback riding boots in my case). The clean shoes are then placed outside the front door (or just inside it, to prevent shoe-theft, shoe-freezing, or snow-shoeiness), where "Nikolaus" comes over night to fill them with presents (now you see why riding boots were important). Traditionally, a lot of those gifts are nuts, apples, oranges and various items of the chocolate variety, but more often than not, there are bigger gifts, too, like CDs or toys. After eating (covertly if necessary) all kinds of candy for breakfast, you go to school (not a no-work holiday, sadly) and make your teachers happy with all your excess energy.