This Is What Kids Leave for Santa on Christmas Eve Around the World

Santa Claus receives lots of gifts of his own on Christmas Eve!

After takeoff from the North Pole with his trusty reindeer, Santa Claus has his work cut out for him. Somehow he manages to deliver our favorite gifts to millions of homes, all on the night before Christmas.

In return for his hard work, he is usually rewarded with a variety of refreshments. Here are some traditional gifts that kids leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve around the world.

United States

American boys and girls leave milk and cookies for Santa Claus, like our Test Kitchen-approved Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies recipe.

Knit stockings are hung on the fireplace for Santa to stuff with small gifts—or coal for the naughty children—before he ascends back up the chimney.

Germany

On Christmas Eve, German children write handwritten letters to the Christkind, a gift-bearing angel that represents the Spirit of Christmas. On Christmas morning, the letters are gone and replaced with gifts. Get in the holiday spirit with traditional German Christmas foods.

Denmark

Danish tots gift Santa with a filling bowl of rice pudding, or risengrod. According to legend, there may be trouble if someone forgets to leave it our for him. You’ll want to try your hand at some of these rice pudding recipes, straight from Grandma’s kitchen.

England

English families leave Santa Claus (also known as Father Christmas) a glass of sherry and a slice of mince pie to warm up on Christmas Eve.

Argentina

Argentinian children leave their shoes outside their front doors, in hopes of finding them filled with presents. They are also known to thoughtfully leave out some water and hay for Santa’s reindeer.

Italy

Italian children await Babbo Natale to bring presents on Christmas Eve while they sleep. Another tradition involves La Befana, an old lady who delivers gifts to boys and girls on Epiphany, which falls on January 6. The kids hang stockings by the fireplace for Befana to fill. Panettone, a sweet bread, is left as a treat. Our Black Forest Panettone Pudding will have you saying Buon Natale!

Find more unusual Christmas traditions you’ve never heard of.

Sweden

In Sweden, Christmas presents are delivered by Tomte (which means “the Gnome”). Swedish children leave out a hot cup of coffee to help keep him awake for the rest of his journey. By the way, there’s a reason Scandinavian coffee tastes so good—find out the secret ingredient.

Ireland

In Ireland, kids leave out mince pies and pints of Guinness for Santa. He may not want to leave the house to finish his rounds! You may not want to either, after you try our Chocolate Guinness Cake.

France

Pere Noel receives biscuits when he arrives at French families’ homes. Here are some traditional French Christmas recipes to prepare.

Australia

Australian children set out cookies for Santa, but instead of milk, they leave him an ice-cold glass of beer. After all, December is summer in the land Down Under. The children leave carrots for Santa’s reindeer to munch on, too.

Traditional Cookies to Leave Out for Santa
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Ceara Milligan
Ceara “Kiwi” Milligan is a professional marketing strategist and copywriter who is proud to call Milwaukee home. She loves baking, cooking, writing, listening to music, dancing, playing and hosting trivia, watching college basketball (Go Marquette!), telling lame jokes, and petting every dog that crosses her path.