If you think you’ve had a stressful holiday season, imagine being in charge of the creation and distribution of all of the world’s Christmas Day toys. Fortunately, Santa Claus will be at it again this holiday season to deliver gifts throughout the world, and he isn’t asking for much in return.
In addition to being nice all year round, there’s an old tradition throughout the United States of leaving a small plate of cookies and milk by the Christmas tree for Santa to have when he’s done leaving the household its gifts. However, if you want your family’s “thank you” treat to Santa to stand out from the other neighbors on your block, you might want to try one of these alternative ideas below:
Let’s get one thing straight — Santa does not work alone! He’s got his helpful friends Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph along for every step of the Christmas journey. If you’re going to be leaving out a snack for Santa, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to leave a snack out for his helpful reindeer teammates as well. According to SantaAnswers, reindeer tend to love oatmeal, carrots, hay and apples as well. Who knows, if they remember your house is generous, they may double-time it to your place next year.
Look, we all love cookies and milk, but Santa has a serious and labor-intensive night ahead of him and he may need a little something different. Teach Santa, and your loved ones, this holiday season that taking the healthy route doesn’t necessarily mean the less-fun route. FoodInsight contains a number of Christmas-themed snacks you can easily prepare with your family to leave out for Santa (and maybe nibble on the excess when no one is looking). Among the more diet-friendly options for the man in red include dark chocolate-covered espresso beans, jerky, pumpkin seeds and a smoothie. The outlet even has recipes and nutritional information for each dish.
An International Treat
While the tradition of leaving cookies and milk for Santa is largely an American tradition, the idea of bribing him to return again next year is not. According to the Daily Meal, there are many different traditions from around the world that Mr. Claus would graciously accept. For example, in England they tend to leave out a slice of pie, while in France he has a plate of biscuits and tea waiting for him. Perhaps the most unique Santa gift comes from Australia, where they leave a tall glass of beer out. It’s never a good idea to drink and drive one’s sleigh, but given Australia’s location on the globe, it’s probably Santa’s last stop of the night anyway.
A Direct Message
In Germany, the tradition of leaving a snack or treat out for Santa never caught on. The people there cut right to the chase and skip the symbolic gesture in favor of a more direct approach. According to History.com, on Christmas Eve, the children leave a handwritten letter for Christkind, a symbolic representation of the Christmas spirit who is responsible for bringing presents, thanking him/her/it for this year’s inevitable crop of holiday cheer. No matter what you do on Christmas Eve for Santa this year, it might not be the worst idea to sit down with your children and express gratitude for everything Christkind, Santa and the entire holiday season brings.