Christmas in Denmark: RisengrødOn Christmas Eve, Danish children leave out risengrød for Tomte, a figure like Santa Claus who nonetheless can bring mischief instead of presents if his special rice pudding is missing. Risengrød recipe can be found here: http://www.food.com/recipe/rice-porridge-risengr-d-in-danish-risgrynsgr-t-in-427115.
Pan de pascuaIn Chile, children leave Viejo Pascuero (Old Man Christmas) pan de pascua, a spongey fruit cake flavored with ginger and honey and stuffed with candied fruit.
Germany: LettersFor German children, Santa Claus is usually a white and gold-robed, almost fairy-like figure called Christkind, and can only be satisfied by reading, not by food. Children leave out letters for Christkind on Christmas Eve (usually covered in colored pencil and glitter and set on the windowsills), and in the morning those letters to "Santa" are replaced by Christmas presents.
Australian and UK Santa Claus: Sherry and Mince PiesBritish and Australian children ditch milk and cookies for sherry and mince pies. These traditional treats are made of sweet sticky fruit and a good sloshing of brandy baked in a pastry. Click here for an easy recipe for mince pies: http://britishfood.about.com/od/christmasrecipes/r/mincepies.htm.
Christmas in Ireland: Mince Pies and GuinnessLike in the UK and Australia, Santa Claus gets mince pies instead of cookies by the tree. Rather than wash it down with a glass of sherry, however, Santa is usually left a pint of Guinness on Christmas Eve.
India: KulkulsIndian children don't usually leave food for Christmas Baba, but they do have a traditional treat called kulkul, a (often glazed) ball of friend dough made with coconut milk. Learn how to make them here: http://www.mydiversekitchen.com/2011/12/week-of-indian-christmas-day-2-kulkuls.html
France: Carrots and TreatsSanta Claus, or Pere Noel in France, isn't left anything for Christmas, but his donkey Gui (the French equivalent of Rudolph et al) gets carrots, hay and other treats left in kids' (or adults') shoes. Santa Claus takes the treats for his donkey and leaves small toys and Christmas tokens behind.
Japan: Traditional Christmas CakeThough Japanese children don't normally leave food out for the Santa-esque Hotei-Osho, they can offer him a bit of traditional holiday cake. The white sponge cake is covered in cream and decorated with strawberries. Watch how to make the Santa treat here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmLkPBut8nI.
Santa in The Netherlands: Treats for HorseDutch children leave out carrots, hay or a bowl of water for Santa Claus/Sinterklaas’ horse, and the Christmas spirit gives them chocolate, hot cocoa, madarin oranges and even tiny marizan figures in return.
For Santa in Phillipines: Cheese and Hot CocoaFilipino children leave Santa Claus tsokolate (hot chocolate-type drink) on Christmas Eve, but it's also traditional to set aside queso de bola (a ball of Edam cheese). Learn how to make tsokolate here: http://burntlumpia.typepad.com/burnt_lumpia/2009/10/tsokolate-filipino-hot-chocolate.html
Christmas in Kenya: Roast GoatKenyan children might leave a bit of roast goat behind for Santa Claus, a central part of the traditional meal on Christmas Eve. For recipes, click http://www.kenya-information-guide.com/kenya-recipes.html.
Christmas in Argentina: SidraAregntinian children wouldn't usually leave this alcoholic cider out for Santa Claus, but it's the traditional beverage for toasting relatives and celebrating on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
Santa Claus is making trips around the world on Christmas Eve, but milk and cookies aren't the only treats he'll snack on along the way... nor is Santa the only name he goes by.
In countries like Denmark, Santa is better know as Tomte, and children leave out rice pudding to appease him so he doesn't cause mischief. In Chile, families makes pan de pascua, a sponge cake stuffed with candied fruit, and in countries like France and the Netherlands, Santa doesn't get any food at all: instead, his horse or donkey (no sign of Rudolph here) is left carrots, hay and bowls of water.
As your family sets out milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, take a look at other's country's traditional offerings, stretching everywhere from Germany and Ireland to India and Kenya. You'll also find recipes for the international foods, so that if you want, this Christmas Eve can give Santa Claus something different when he crosses the U.S.
To find out what children around the world are feeding Santa on Christmas Eve, click through our slideshow, and enjoy the recipes provided.