The Legend of Santa Claus. Part 2. Children Around the World Prepare for Santa’s Arrival

 "Oh, you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why, Santa Claus is comin' to town." Listen to Bing Cosby, opens a new window sing the lyrics.

In the United States, children are reminded by their parents to go to bed early on Christmas Eve in anticipation of Santa Claus's arrival. Children hang Christmas stockings on mantels, and leave a plate of cookies, a cup of milk, or steamy, hot chocolate for Santa to nibble on as he place their presents under the Christmas tree. Have you wondered how children in other countries prepare for Santa's arrival. Let's explore a few countries and see how the children in those countries eagerly prepare for Santa's arrival bearing Christmas gifts.

Western European kids are lucky to have two arrivals of Christmas presents during the holiday season. On the night of December 5, children put out shoes filled with goodies of drawings, carrots, cookies, and other pantry snacks alongside the chimney. In Scandinavia, children await the arrival of Julemanden (Yule Man), a Santa-like figure and nisse, a fortune-bringing gnome by placing a steaming, hot bowl of rice pudding with a scoop of melting butter on top before going to bed eagerly awaiting presents from the duo. In Greenland, children send letters of Christmas wishes to Nuuck, then they go carolling from door-to-door buckling under the weight of hard-earned gifts and candy from their joyous songs. Children in France leave carrots for the reindeer and biscuits for Pere Noel as they prepare for bedtime, some leave these treats in their shoes to be replaced with goodies in the morning. Children in the United Kingdom and Ireland leave mince meat pies and a nip of sherry or a pint of Guinness to warm Santa as he delivers their presents. In Germany, children leave letters for Christkind to read and wake the next morning to greet the day with presents that were replaced by their letters.

In Ecuador and Colombia, children write letters to baby Jesus describing how good they have been all year and the presents they would like to have for their good behavior. Children in Brazil place socks near the window for Papai Noel. In Mexico, candy rains from pinatas from December 16 to 24, but children eagerly await the arrival of los Reyes Magos in January when gifts are abundant. In Puerto Rico, children look forward to the Navidad. On the evening of January 5, they fill shoe boxes with grass, then place them under the beds of parents and grandparents to await sweet treats and goodies in their boxes the next morning. Children in Chile place a plate of pan de pascua, a rich spongy cake flavored with rum and dried fruits and nuts for Viejo Pascuero, or Old Man Christmas in exchange for presents.

In Eastern European countries, children sing for their supper when it comes to presents. In Russia, children place bags of candy for Grandfather Frost as they sing a song, or recite a poem in exchange for presents. In Poland and Latvia, children sing for their presents, and may add dance routines, or recite a poem. Yugoslavian children don't sing or recite poems for their presents, but rather tie their mother up by her legs on the second Sunday before Christmas using a belt, or scarf. The mother gives the children presents to earn her "freedom" from the playful bindings. Dad doesn't escape these playful antics, for the children tie him up on the Sunday before Christmas in exchange for presents.   

Do you want to learn more about holidays and festivals in other countries, try Global Road Warrior, opens a new window, a database available from St. Tammany Parish Library.  You can search information on world countries by geographic location on the map, by list of countries, or use the search box to search by term and country. After choosing a country,  information can be obtained which includes the country's overview, the business culture, climate, communications, economy and trade, history, holidays, festivals, language, music, and much more. 

 Global Road Warrior, opens a new window is a product of World Trade Press that is "dedicated to providing reliable, up-to-date digital media essential for researchers, educators, travelers, and logistics, and international trade professionals." Global Road Warrior is available for use within one of the St. Tammany Parish Library branches, or at home, or a remote location using your St. Tammany Parish Library card. 


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