10 snacks children around the world leave for Santa

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Children around the world all serve Santa something different on Christmas. Marco Verch/ Getty
  • While milk and cookies are considered the norm in the US, around the world, kids are leaving Santa anything from beer to rice pudding.
  • In Iceland, children believe that there are 13 completely different Santa-like figures who visit throughout December, which results in very different treats all month long.
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Christmas time is filled with traditions that are passed down from generation to generation. But some of these traditions are unique to certain cultures.

For instance, children in the US believe Santa Claus comes on Christmas night to deliver presents, while children in Iceland believe there are 13 “Yule Lads” who visit all December-long. 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.


In the United States, many children leave a glass of milk and a plate of cookies for Santa.

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Milk and cookies. Shutterstock

Some families deviate from the norm by leaving Santa and his reindeer carrots, pizza, or even celery.


Although Australians also leave cookies for Santa to snack on, they replace the glass of milk with a cold glass of beer.

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Beer. Kham/Reuters

December is actually summer for Australia, so the glass of beer might be just what Santa needs in the hot weather.


Some Irish families leave a pint of Guinness for Santa on the eve of Christmas.

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Guinness beer. Frantisekf/Shutterstock

Children usually place the cold beer near the tree to offer Old Saint Nick a quick pick-me-up for the long night ahead.


Like in Australia and Ireland, children in Britain leave Santa alcohol.

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Glass of sherry. Shutterstock

Families believe Santa needs some sherry to warm up on Christmas night. It’s also tradition to pair the sherry with a mince pie.


Children in Argentina leave out hay and water.

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Hay for the horses. Getty Images

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.


In the Netherlands, children often leave carrots and hay to help energize Santa’s horses — yes, horses — on their trip around the world.

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Carrots for the horses. Al Bello/ Getty

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.


Denmark doesn’t leave anything for Julemanden — Denmark’s term for Santa — to munch on, but they do leave out rice pudding for elves.

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Rice pudding. Gaus Alex/Shutterstock

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.


In Iceland, children leave out laufabrauð, which translates to leaf bread and tastes like a crispy wafer.

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Christmas in Iceland. Shutterstock

In Iceland, Christmas lasts 26 days, and there are actually 13 Santa-like figures who bring children gifts and snacks.


In France, children leave out carrots and cookies in their shoes.

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Sneakers left for Santa. Shutterstock

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.


German children leave out handwritten letters before going to bed.

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Children write letters. Richard Rodriguez/ Getty

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.