November 27, 2018
While said to have started in response to The Great Depression as a way to teach children gratitude in the face of great economic hardship, the tradition of leaving a snack out for Santa Claus on Christmas is actually not a uniquely American pastime. In fact, ol’ Saint Nick enjoys a sumptuous buffet of treats in exchange for his tiring trek across the globe each year.
From pints of ice cold beer to the familiar plate of cookies and milk, here’s what children in nine parts of the world leave out for Santa Claus.
While Americans dream of a “white Christmas,” it’s actually summertime in December south of the equator, so it’s customary to leave out Santa a glass of crisp and refreshing beer.
Next up is Sweden, where children thoughtfully leave out coffee in order to provide Santa with a much-needed caffeine boost.
In Denmark, Jultomte (Swedish Santa) opts to enter homes through the front door with his elves, rather than shimmying down the chimney. It is the elves, rather than Santa, who are welcomed with a dish of risgrynsgröt, a Danish rice pudding flavored with cinnamon and a dash of salt.
Père Noël rides a noble donkey named Gui instead of a reindeer. Out of respect, French children leave biscuits for Santa and carrots in their shoes for Gui, which are swapped out for gifts in the morning.
Mince pies—a miniature pastry-pie stuffed with a mix of spices and dried fruits—are a quintessential holiday treat in the UK. Children leave out the pies and a side of sherry or brandy to fuel Santa on his merry way.
They say that Guinness tastes better in Ireland than anywhere else in the world, so it follows that children leave Santa a glass of the dark Irish stout as his treat.
German kids, perhaps hoping to stave off a food coma, leave their iteration of Santa Claus (who is more of an angelic figure) letters filled with their hopes and dreams instead of any snacks to much on.
Once he reaches South America, Santa can look forward to a traditional Chilean fruitcake topped off with dulce de leche called pan de pascua.
Traditionally, Santa is greeted with cookies—be they gingerbread, chocolate chip, or even sugar—and a tall glass of milk as his reward for emerging on the other end of the chimney.