What Children Around the World Leave Santa

Children in the U.S. believe Santa Claus comes on Christmas Eve to bring gifts, but Christmas traditions in other cultures and countries are different than ours. Not only are the celebrations different, but the food little ones leave out for Old Saint Nick, Father Christmas, or whatever he’s known as in other countries also varies from place to place. Here’s how they do it around the world.

  • Argentina: Hay and water- They celebrate Christmas until January 6th, which is Three Kings Day. The night before that, kids leave their shoes outside to be filled with gifts and leave hay and water for the kings’ horses.
  • Australia: Beer and cookies- Down Under, they swap the milk for a cold glass of beer. December is summer in Australia, so Santa may want that refreshing brew in the hot weather.
  • England: Glass of sherry- Little ones in the U.K. also leave booze, but they prefer some sherry to warm Santa up and a slice of mince pie to go with it.
  • France: Carrots, biscuits- French children leave PereNoel biscuits and leave his reindeer carrots, typically they put the treats inside their shoes and in the morning, they find presents there instead.
  • Germany: Handwritten letters- Rather than snacks, Germans leave the Christmas angel letters decorated with sparkles and markers, which have been replaced with gifts when they wake up.
  • Iceland: Leaf bread- Here Christmas lasts 26 days and there are actually 13 Santas who bring gifts and snacks to kids and in exchange, they leave leaf bread, which tastes “like a crispy wafer.”
  • Ireland: Pint of Guinness- Irish kids leave beer as well, typically a pint of Guinness near the Christmas tree so Old Saint Nick gets a quick pick-me-up before his busy night.
  • Netherlands: Carrots and hay- In some European countries, including Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands, children believe that Santa’s sleigh is pulled by horses rather than reindeer, so they leave snacks for the horses to boost their energy for their trip around the world.