What Kids Leave Out for Santa Around the World

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Christmas traditions vary from culture to culture, as do the treats and snacks children leave out for Santa on his long journey around the world.

What Kids Leave Out for Santa Around the World

iStock/Thinkstock

Christmas traditions vary from culture to culture, as do the treats and snacks children leave out for Santa on his long journey around the world.

Argentina

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In Argentina, children leave out presents in anticipation of the arrival of the Magi on January 5, the night before Three Kings Day. The kids leave a gift of hay and water to nourish and hydrate the Magi’s horses, as the horses needed the energy to carry the kings on their journey to see baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

Australia

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It's mighty hot Down Under, so it's only natural that Santa would want a beer. That's right! In Australia, it's custom to leave a beer out for Santa. Kids also leave out some cookies for Santa, and they may leave him a glass of milk. They'll also make sure to leave some carrots for the reindeer.

Chile

In Chile, children prepare a pan de Pascua for Viejo Pascuero, or Old Man Christmas, as he is lovingly called. Pan de Pascua translates to Easter Bread, but it is a traditional Christmas treat, made of sponge cake flavored with candied fruit, ginger, and honey. It is typically part of the night’s meal, too. After a dessert of the sweet treat, family members exchange gifts, so the kids leave some for Santa in the hopes he will leave something for them, too.

Denmark

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In Denmark, Father Christmas and his sneaky little 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 is also part of Christmas Eve dinner. Forget to leave it out and Santa and the nisser are said to play some cheeky little tricks. 

England

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In England, children leave out a sweet treat for Santa Clause. Instead of cookies and milk, the tradition in England is to leave out some mince pies and milk. 

France

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One might expect cheese and Champagne to be the go-to midnight snack in France, but that’s not the case when it comes to Santa, or Père Noël as he is known in France.  Children in France leave out some carrots and some biscuits for Père Noël by the fireplace. Sometimes, they put the carrots and biscuits in their shoes, which they leave out for the night to find some them stuffed with some trinkets, treats, and toys when they wake. 

Germany

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Santa had better get his fill of snacks before he gets to Germany. Here, kids leave out letters for Christkind, their version of Santa. That’s right, it’s all about a good read for Kris Kringle here. Overachievers decorate their letters with glue and sugar crystals so they sparkle in the night. Christkind shows up, takes the letters, and leaves gifts in exchange. 

Ireland

This is the stop Santa looks forward to all night. In Ireland, not only does Santa get a Christmas pudding or mince pie meal, but he also gets a Guinness to wash it down with. 

Netherlands

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Kids in the Netherlands spoil Sinterklaas’ steed, not Sinter himself. Carrots, hay, and water are left out for Sinter to feed his horse for the long night’s journey. In return, he leaves marzipan, chocolate coins, hot cocoa, and mandarin oranges.

Philippines

The Feast of the Three Kings marks the end of the Christmas celebrations in the Philippines. On Three Kings Day, January 6, kids leave out shiny shoes and squeaky-clean socks just begging to be filled with gifts. Oh, sorry, were you Three Kings hungry? Well, drop the presents and get yourself to a diner, ‘cause there’s nothing to see, or eat, here — ironically, no food is left out during the so-called feast.