BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Kids in the United States know what Santa Claus needs as he makes his way from house to house on Christmas Eve. Cookies and milk, of course.
And occasionally, they will leave out some carrots for his reindeer, as well.
But the tradition of leaving some snacks out for Santa and his animals is different depending on which country you’re in.
Here’s what children throughout the world contribute to Santa’s backbreaking Christmas Eve work:
For Australians, since their continent is in the southern hemisphere, Christmas comes during summertime. Maybe this is why children there traditionally leave a cold beer out for Santa.
Argentinians leave out hay and water the night before Epiphany on Jan. 6.
Epiphany, or Three Kings’ Day, celebrates the Wise Men who visited the baby Jesus after his birth and confirmed him as the son of God.
The hay and water is for the horses that guided them to Bethlehem.
Chilean children often leave some Pan de Pascua, or fruitcake, out for Viejito Pascuero, Old Man Christmas.
Denmark’s version of Santa Claus is “Julemanden.” Danish children will sometimes leave out a leftover serving of their traditional Christmastime rice pudding, or “risengrod,” for Julemanden’s mischevious elves, called “nisser,” on Christmas Eve.
French children leave their shoes by the fireplace on Christmas Eve instead of stockings, and they are filled with carrots and treats for the donkey belonging to “Père Noël.” The donkey’s name is Gui.
**In Louisiana Cajun culture, there is another version of Père Noël called Papa Noël. He travels in a pirogue pulled by alligators, and those who live along the Great River Road between New Orleans and Baton Rouge light his way with huge bonfires.
What else could Santa expect from Irish children but a glass of Guinness? They also leave mince pies, similar to their neighbors in the U.K.
While an increasing number of Italian kids leave a slice of the Panettone Christmas cake for Babbo Natale, which is how they refer to Santa, the more traditional Italian gift-giver is La Befana.
She’s an old woman who flies on a broomstick delivering gifts to children on Jan. 5, the eve of Epiphany. The legend of Befana suggests that she encountered the Wise Men on their way to visit the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. They invited her to come with them, but she declined because she was too busy with her housework. After having a change of heart, while still clutching her broom, she tried to find them so she could take her own gifts to the Christ child, but she never tracked them down. To this day, she searches for them every Epiphany eve while carrying gifts.
Befana is typically left some wine and cake.
Dutch children must think “Sinterklaas” is full by the time he visits their homes. Instead of feeding him, they leave out carrots, hay and water for his horse.
After watching the Donald Duck Christmas special on Christmas Eve (read more on that HERE), Swedish children leave “Jultomte” what could be the most practical offering for his long, tiresome journey across the globe — coffee. Just like the Danish, they sometimes leave him some rice pudding, as well.
Traditionally, kids leave Santa mince pie and a little bit of sherry.