What Kids in 11 Parts of the World Leave Out for Santa Claus Slideshow

Forget milk and cookies. See what treats the rest of the world leaves for Santa
Christmas

Photo Modified: Flickr / solyanka / CC BY 4.0

Kids leave out treats for Santa and his reindeer all over the world. Check out the items in his midnight buffet in 11 areas around the globe.

What Kids in 11 Parts of the World Leave Out for Santa Claus

What Kids in 11 Parts of the World Leave Out for Santa Claus

Photo Modified: Flickr / solyanka / CC BY 4.0

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.

Argentina

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.

Australia

In Australia, it’s customary to leave Santa a cold beer. Cookies might also be offered, as well as carrots for the reindeer, but the beer is often the number one priority.  

Chile

Chile

Photo Modified: Flickr / N i c o l a / CC BY 4.0

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.

Denmark

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. 

France

Père Noël, as Santa is called in France, receives biscuits when he enters the home. Kids also leave out carrots for the reindeer, usually putting the food in their shoes and awakening on Christmas morning to find them stuffed with trinkets, toys, and treats. 

Germany

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.

Ireland

In Ireland, kids leave out mince pies for Santa, but in true Irish fashion, a Guinness is also offered to Old Saint Nick. After a great meal, he’s ready for his next stop.

Netherlands

Kids in the Netherlands primarily spoil Sinterklaas’ (Santa’s) horses instead of the man himself, with carrots, hay, and water. In return, Father Christmas leaves sweet treats like marzipan, mandarin oranges, and chocolate coins.

Scandinavia

Scandinavia

Photo Modified: Flickr / jonsson / CC BY 4.0

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.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Photo Modified: Flickr / Peter Roberts / CC BY 4.0

Here, children leave out a sweet treat for Santa Claus. Instead of cookies and milk, the tradition in the United Kingdom is to leave out some mince pies, either filled with dried fruit or meat. Sherry is also usually left to warm him up. 

United States

United States

Photo Modified: Flickr / solyanka / CC BY 4.0

Cookies and milk are Santa’s traditional treat in the United States, so gingerbread cookies are often left out for him. Cookie varieties like sugar and chocolate chip are also fine options. Some kids even go so far as to leave out carrots and oats for hungry reindeer.