Der Haus-Christ: Literally “The House Christ”, a sixteenth-century German term for the gift-bringer.
German Protestants who wished to abolish the Catholic cult of saints needed a replacement for St. Nicholas as the traditional bearer of presents at Christmas. Clergymen then spoke of Christ himself as the bringer of good things at Christmas and his collection of gifts as the “Christ-bundle”. From this developed the belief in the “Christkindl”, a child-like figure dressed in white representing the Christ Child as bringer of Christmas gifts.
The above is an excerpt from The World Encyclopedia of Christmas, which was written by Gerry Bowler in the University of Manitoba’s history department.