St. Nicholas visits homes with small children on the evening before St. Nicholas Day. Knecht Ruprecht, a threatening presence for children, also comes along. St. Nicholas talks to children about their behavior the past year, often knowing quite specific information acout both highs and lows. Children are usually "mostly good" and encouraged to try hard to behave well. Each child recites a short poem or sings a song for St. Nicholas. When Nicholas and Ruprecht leave, surprises are left for the children.