For instance, children in the US believe that Santa Claus comes on Christmas night to deliver presents, while children in Iceland believe that there are 13 Santas who visit all December-long. In fact, “Santa” looks totally different in countries around the world.
These differences in celebrations from country to country can also be seen in what children leave out for “Santa.”
From rice pudding to beer, keep scrolling to find out what children leave out around Christmas.
UNITED STATES: milk and cookies
In the US, children almost exclusively leave a glass of milk and a plate of cookies for Santa to snack on when he visits their home. But some families deviate from the norm by leaving Santa carrots, pizza, or even celery.
AUSTRALIA: beer and cookies
Although Australians also leave cookies for Santa to snack on,they replace the glass of milk with a cold glass of beer. The glass of beer is just what Santa needs in the hot Australian summer.
Many Irish leave a pint of Guinness for Santa on the eve of Christmas. Children usually place the cold beer near the tree to offer Old Saint Nick a quick pick-me-up for the long night ahead.
ENGLAND: glass of sherry
Like in Australia and Ireland, children in Britain leave Santa alcohol. Families believe Santa needs some sherry to warm up on Christmas night. It’s also tradition to pair the sherry with a slice of mince pie.
ARGENTINA: hay and water
Christmas in Argentina continues until January 6, which is Three Kings Day. The night before Three Kings Day, children leave their shoes outside so they can be filled with gifts. They also leave hay and water for the kings’ horses.
NETHERLANDS: carrots and hay
In some parts of Europe – like Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands – children don’t believe Santa’s sleigh is pulled by reindeer. Instead, they think he is being pulled by horses, so children leave food for them on Christmas Eve. They often leave carrots and hay to help energize the horses on their trip around the world.
DENMARK: rice pudding
Denmark doesn’t leave anything for Julemanden – Denmark’s term for Santa – to munch on. Instead, children leave elves – who are named nisser and who live in the attic – a bowl of rice pudding called risengrod. They believe that if the rice pudding isn’t left out, then the nisser will taunt them all evening long.
ICELAND: leaf bread
In Iceland, Christmas lasts 26 days, and there are actually 13 Santas who bring children gifts and snacks. In return, the children leave these Santas a laufabrauð, which translates to leaf bread and tastes like a crispy wafer.
FRANCE: carrots, biscuits, and shoes
The French make sure Santa Claus isn’t hungry by leaving him treats – like biscuits – as well as carrots for the reindeer. They typically leave the goodies in their shoes and awake to find the food gone and presents in their place.
GERMANY: handwritten letters
Germans have more of a Christmas angel, the “Christkind,” than a Santa, and they don’t leave any snacks. Instead, they leave the angel handwritten letters that are decorated with sparkles and markers. In the morning, the letters are gone and in their place are gifts.
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