What Kids in 11 Parts of the World Leave Out for Santa Claus Slideshow
December 1, 2015
Forget milk and cookies. See what treats the rest of the world leaves for Santa
What Kids in 11 Parts of the World Leave Out for Santa Claus
In the United States, the Christmas season starts the moment after Thanksgiving dinner ends, with bellies full of turkey and sinks full of dishes. Storefronts light up, Christmas music begins playing on the radio, and kids begin working on their Christmas lists. Other countries might not be quite as Christmas crazy, but it is a holiday beloved by different people all over the world. One tradition that people usually think of only days before the big day is leaving treats out for Santa Claus on his tiring trek around the globe. Cookies and milk are traditional for America, but the rest of the world has many variations on offerings to keep Santa energized throughout the long night ahead of him.
In order to share the various aspects of Santa’s midnight buffet, we’ve looked at 11 areas around the world. Read on to learn more.
Additional reporting by Fabiana Santana.
In Argentina, children generally don’t receive presents until Three Kings Day on January 6, a day honoring the three Magi who visited baby Jesus in Bethlehem. The night before, kids leave their shoes outside their homes’ front doors to be filled with gifts. They also leave hay and water out for the Magi’s horses for energy on the long journey.
In Chile, Viejo Pascuero, or Old Man Christmas, is left a pan de Pascua prepared by children. Pan de Pascua translates to Easter Bread, but it is a traditional Christmas treat of sponge cake flavored with candied fruit, ginger, and honey. After a dessert of the sweet treat in the evening, family members exchange gifts, and kids leave some sponge cake for Santa in hopes he will leave something for them.
In Denmark, Father Christmas and his mischievous elves, or nisser, who take up shop in the attic of homes to keep an eye on things, expect to find a bowl of Christmas rice pudding waiting for them on Christmas Eve. The pudding, called risengrød, is made with sugar, cinnamon, and milk, and it’s also part of Christmas Eve dinner. Forget to leave it out, and Santa and the nisser may play some cheeky tricks.
German children leave out something more personal than snacks for Christkind, or Santa’s nickname in Germany. They write letters to Father Christmas, and some even decorate their letters with glue and sugar crystals so they sparkle in the night. In the morning, they awake to find the letters have been replaced with gifts.
In Norway and Sweden, a gnome-like creature from folklore associated with winter is believed to protect barns and leave gifts for children. He’s called Nisse in Norway and Tomte in Sweden. Kids often leave out porridge for him in both countries, while in Sweden, it’s also customary to leave him a cup of coffee.