Milk and cookies are great, but Santa needs a few other things for his big night
Doesn’t Santa deserve more than a plate of cookies?
When St. Nick shimmies down your chimney Christmas Eve, he expects to find certain things. He’ll look out for the stockings hung by the chimney with care. He’ll notice the twinkling tree lights and and the bowl of carrots left for his reindeer. And of course he will notice the welcoming plate of warm cookies and cold milk that were left as a token of gratitude. And believe us, he is absolutely thankful for those cookies, as they are a highlight of his otherwise too hectic evening. But if you really want to wow Santa try thinking outside the box.
After all, how many cookies can poor Santa consume in one night? Sure there are tons of varieties, but after awhile they all start to blend together. If you really want to impress Santa this year, consider leaving him some of the other essentials he needs that people often forget about.
For instance, ice cold milk is refreshing, but after being out in the snow all night long you may crave something a little warmer. A cup of hot cocoa ought to hit the spot for dear old Santa. To make his meal more rounded, consider leaving him Christmas Eve leftovers or even a quick sandwich. After all, the guy has a long night ahead of him- he needs sufficient fuel. In hopes of giving Santa an extra special treat (and maybe getting an extra present), we pulled together a useful list of things Santa needs to have a great night!
Leaving Santa Gifts Unwrapped Under the Tree Might Be the Best Tip I've Learned All Year
For the past five Christmases, I've felt like a mighty clever elf. To add to the magic of Christmas morning for my two kids, I'd spend the night wrapping gifts strategically — the ones from me and their dad would be covered in typical, store-bought paper, but the ones from Santa? I'd grab some well-hidden butcher-block paper to wrap those. Some simple red twine or sparkly red ribbon would finish the job. I'd grab a black permanent marker and forge Santa's signature, often using my left hand to ensure it would look nothing like Mommy's handwriting.
But the other day, I came across a social media post from a fellow mom with what I thought was a rather unpopular opinion — that Santa does not wrap presents.
Come again? I polled a few friends. Most were in my camp, but one emphatically agreed that gifts from Santa always, always were unwrapped . . . and fully assembled.
"Santa doesn't wrap gifts! Don't you think he's done enough?" she told me cheekily. When I asked her if this was just a way to shirk one of many parent-intensive tasks, she said it was more special this way. It actually felt more authentic to her. When she was little, she recalled running down the stairs and being able to instantly see her beloved gift, the one she'd asked Santa for when they visited him at the department store. Sure, she still had plenty of gifts to unwrap from her parents and other family members, but the Santa gifts felt altogether different because they were on display.
Intrigued, I looked into this lesser-known tradition. Turns out, there's no shortage of families who get unwrapped presents from Santa. And most of them stress the importance of a few key factors. Gifts from Santa must be devoid of packaging, and they need to be fully assembled. If it comes from Santa's workshop, the batteries are already installed. Toys like train sets should be up and running, and high-impact gifts, like a new bicycle, may get a big bow on top for added effect, but that's the most adornment they need.
Up until now, I'd already been following most of those rules — like tossing the cardboard box for added authenticity — and, unfortunately, they've made the wrapping experience much more frustrating. I'm bad enough at wrapping wrinkle-free boxes, so to properly wrap a tricycle or a stuffed hippopotamus or a set of six oddly shaped stepping stones in a way that looks North Pole-approved feels daunting.
I'm still not sure if I'm ready to part with our little tradition of wrapped Santa gifts, one that my husband and I both grew up with as well. Plus, will my 6-year-old wonder why Santa switched things up all of a sudden? But I have a feeling that when my kids go to bed on Dec. 24, I'll be opting for this simpler approach.
What to leave the Easter Bunny My daughter asked me today what we should leave the Easter Bunny this year. She proclaimed that it was not fair to bake fresh cookies for Santa, and then turn around and throw some baby carrots out for the Easter Bunny. She is convinced they (and other holiday/occasion icons) meet once a year to discuss these things. Wanting to leave the best impression possible, my daughter decided not only should we bake a treat, but we also needed to leave a beverage (since Santa gets milk). We quickly decided a house favorite, Carrot Lemonade should do the trick. This beverage, made widely known by the First Lady, is a constant in our house. Not only is it packed with Vitamin C and Vitamin A, but it is also delicious! No sugar added in this healthy recipe found on BHG. Make a big batch to ensure you have enough left over for Easter breakfast/brunch. The baked part of the equation was not as obvious as the beverage. When it comes to carrots you can make most anything: cakes, muffins, breads. Since we were going the healthy route already, it was clear we needed to follow through. After some back and forth, my daughter had decided that the Easter Bunny is absolutely vegan, which made sense to me as well. Based on her knowledge of bunny diets, she revoked the baked goods idea and opted for a lettuce wrap. I love my little healthy foodie! So lettuce it is, filled with delicious julienne vegetables and lots of sprouts. With a long night ahead of him, we opted to throw in some tofu for protein. I was thrilled to have solved the mystery of what the Easter Bunny eats, at least at my house. It was a great time to reinforce the importance of healthy eating habits, and also to test my daughter’s knowledge (A+). Not ready to end the conversation, she dove into Santa’s unhealthy weight and a much needed revamp of the snacks we leave for him. A beautiful outcome it was, chatting with my 5 year old about setting a positive example for others. What will you leave the Easter Bunny this year? What Should You Leave For Santa - Recipes
People around the world leave different "treats" for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
In the US and Canada, we put out milk and cookies for Santa. I have to say when he comes to our house, he leaves a big mess of crumbs on the table… but he always writes us a note of thanks.
In England and Australia, Santa’s treated to a glass of sherry with minced pie. While in Wales and Ireland, they give him Guinness beer and cookies, mince pie or Christmas pudding, depending on the house.
Santa gets a stiff drink to help him stay warm through the night in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Sometimes a particular elf or gnome will get risgrynsgrot, a bowl of rice porridge made with cinnamon, sugar and milk. It’s regional who brings gifts to houses in Scandinavian countries. In some places it’s the big guy Santa, in others, one of the little elf-like creatures that inhabit the land.
Some people around the world are so thoughtful they put out carrots, hay or grass for Santa’s reindeer.
What do you traditionally leave out for Santa in your house or in your country? Please let us know in the comments below…
Now imagine me lifting my glass of milk, sherry or Guinness to you and saying, "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!"
This article was posted on Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 at 3:30 pm and is filed under Canada, Christmas, Christmas Eve Traditions, Countries & Cultures, Denmark, England, France, Holidays Around the World, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, USA, Wales. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
15 Responses to “What Do You Give Santa on Christmas Eve?”
When I was in Sweden we didn’t leave anything out for Santa because he actually came to the house!
Usually an older neighbor, sometimes part of the family, they would dress up in a ‘santa suit’ and hand out the gifts to the family.
i leave minced pies and red wine!
Frances wrote from England: “Carrots for reindeer, biscuits and milk for Santa – but up to now, 1 carrot has been enough …!!”
Frances’ daughter wanted to leave out 9 carrots – one for each reindeer. So cute!
I leave out exactly 11 cookies for Santa and 18 carrots , 2 carrots for each of the reindeer. I love Christmas
I always leave out 5 cookies for santa and 18 carrots also for the reindeer. And someone please tell me what to give to santa other than the cookies?
I live in Australia. I’m in my 40’s & my whole life I’ve never put sherry or mince pie out for Santa. They were popular beverage & dessert in the 1960’s so maybe it was a practice that happened before my time.
Always been glass of milk & a biscuit or if its really hot, the milk goes off so a beer is left out. The reindeers got a carrot.
In the morning half the milk was drunk & just crumbs of the biscuit remained but if was beer, that was always all drunk lol. The reindeers only had a nibble on the carrot, they couldn’t eat too much as they can’t fly with full stomachs.
mikaylah you can also give santa mince puddings that’s what I do I leave him 2 mince pies, one glass of bailys and two carrots
We leave out beer and salami
I usually leave Santa 4 chocolate cookies shaped and iced Chritsmasy. And for the reindeer 8 apples.
I leave out some fresh cookies, sherry and 9 carrots. Not sure if thats what he likes
The Australia part is so wrong, NEVER heard of it. Always cookies, carrots and a glass / bottle of beer or milk…
In nz we leave whisky and scones! Sometimes cookies for him…
Always a large glass of chateauneuf du pape and a mince pie plus a carrot or two, Santa has been known to knock over the glass sometimes. There are a lot of elves in England (the National Elf Service) so maybe another glass of red? Or port. Or Grand Marnier.
For dramatic effect – and guaranteed to get the kids talking – one of the reindeers sometimes also has an ‘accident’. We tend to use some ‘residue’ from the stables but rolled up lumps of mud look realistic enough. Don’t get the dog involved in this part of the procedure. Can be disastrous.
I think that I leave 4 cookies and glass of milk for santa he did/t eat the cookies or drinking the milk he just give me a gift I think don/t like chocolate chip cookies or glass of milk
I like to leave out a big mug of hot cocoa some mince buys and mint biscuits, and for the reindeer I leave out carrots!
Rudolph’s carrot patch cakes
Kids running riot on Christmas Eve? Help them leave Rudolph a carrot he won’t forget with these beautiful chocolate carrot loaf cakes. They’re so good you might need to leave an extra one out to avoid a jealous Santa.
The reason why you shouldn’t leave Rudolph a carrot on Christmas Eve
We all love to leave a mince pie out for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph, but it could be doing more harm than good. Here's what you should REALLY be leaving out for Santa's reindeer this Christmas Eve.
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Nutella tear & share Christmas tree
It&rsquos an age old tradition we all love to take part in: leaving a mince pie and a glass of something for Santa, plus a carrot for Rudolph to crunch on.
The tradition is something we love so much that people in Britain spend a whopping £98 million a year on treats for Santa and his reindeer.
Considering they fly 316 million miles in just 32 hours, it&rsquos obviously well deserved, but a warning has been issued against leaving carrots out for Rudolph and his squad.
It turns out that 81% of raw carrots can't be digested by reindeer.
Phil Endsor, otherwise known as 'The Reindeer Whisperer,' says: &lsquoFor years, children around the world have been leaving carrots out for Santa&rsquos reindeer believing it&rsquos their favourite treat, but this is a huge misconception.'
Wait! Reindeers can't eat carrots?!
&lsquoCarrots aren&rsquot part of their natural diet and reindeer struggle to digest them because they don&rsquot have any incisor teeth on their upper jaw &ndash we&rsquove never seen any of the reindeers we look after eat one!&rsquo
So what IS safe for reindeer to eat?!
What snacks can we leave?
There are plenty of alternative treats you can leave out for Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer and the rest of the gang this year.
Reindeer expert Phil has teamed up with Sainsbury's to come up with a delicious recipe guaranteed to be loved by all eight magical reindeer.
The simple three-step method doesn&rsquot require any cooking or baking and combines rolled oats, cranberries, maple syrup, button mushrooms, flaxseed and a pinch of chilli powder to help Rudolph&rsquos nose glow.
According to Phil, this concoction will, 'provide Santa's reindeer with the strength they need to keep going on their journey'.
Just How Many Cookies Will Santa Claus Eat on Christmas Eve?
With all that traveling, everyone knows Santa and his reindeers work up quite an appetite. But just how much food is being left for jolly old Saint Nicholas?
An exact date isn't clear, but it is believed that in the 1930s children began leaving cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. One theory was that some children who had been naughty were hoping the gesture would ensure a gift. The most popular cookies left out for Mr. Claus are chocolate chip and "America's #1 Cookie," the Oreo (perhaps because of a particular commercial from the 1980s).
So just how many cookies is Santa "eating" on Christmas Eve? Let's get to the stats.
Approximately one billion cookies are left out around the world for Santa, and since Santa needs something to help wash them down, about 500 million glasses of milk are set out. (If we're talking about just the U.S., it's approximated that of the 100 million households, about 1 million are serving sweets to St. Nick.) According to An Idea, If Santa takes two bites of each cookie served around the world, he consumes roughly 336,150,386 cookies. As you probably know, Santa Claus doesn't always finish his glass of milk, so that means he drinks a little less than a million glasses, but the amount that's served would fill an olympic pool nine times over.
We all know Santa Claus has a jolly old belly, and that's likely because each Christmas Eve, according to an estimation by An Idea, he consumes just under 40 billion calories.
Magical Reindeer Food
Years ago, when the kids and I still peered towards the moon in hopes of catching a glimpse of Rudolph leading Santa’s sleigh as we drove away from church on Christmas Eve, my friend, Marilu, gave us a bag of magical food.
This sparkly mixture was not meant for human consumption, however. It was a special treat for the kids to leave for the reindeer after the milk and cookies had been put out for Santa.
Attached to the bag was a clever poem instructing children to sprinkle this glistening oat mixture outside as a beacon to guide the reindeer:
Sprinkle this reindeer food outside tonight
The moonlight will make it sparkle bright
As the reindeer fly and roam
This will guide them to your home
Chances are, you have the simple ingredients needed to mix up a batch of reindeer food for the special believers you know. Kids may even enjoy mixing it themselves and giving as gifts to their friends.
To make this “food” safe for birds and small children, stick with colored or glittery sprinkles instead of true glitter.
In the Netherlands it is Sinterklaas and his eight-legged horse who deliver the presents. On Christmas Eve, Dutch children leave out water, hay and carrots for the horse. Sinterklaas won’t mind as he is full up with cookies and biscuits so needs to give his stomach a rest.
In Denmark Santa is known as Julemand and he is treated to a dish of sweet rice pudding called Risengrod. A million or so bowls of this probably sits quite heavy in his tummy so he is pleased just to be given coffee for good digestion and energy in Sweden.
Is the tooth fairy actually good for kids?
Your child loved the tooth fairy when he was in first grade, but should you keep the tradition going now that he is in third grade? Experts reveal their thoughts on keeping the tooth fairy tradition alive for kids and tweens.
Much like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy is one of those fun traditions that make childhood so magical. Many parents remember the joy of sneaking into their child&rsquos room and slipping money under the pillow after their child lost their first tooth, and second and third &mdash and so on!
Many children continue to lose their teeth until around age 12, leaving many parents wondering if they should continue the tooth fairy tradition &mdash or if their kids should outgrow it like they do their pacifiers and blankies. Or perhaps they should stop the tradition when their kids ask the question…
Is the tooth fairy real?
About the time that your child starts asking if Santa Claus is real, they may also start to have their doubts about the mysterious tooth fairy. This is all part of normal development, says psychotherapist and parent coach Patti Ashley.
&ldquoAccording to child psychologist and researcher Jean Piaget, children cannot distinguish fantasy from reality until about the age of 7 or 8,&rdquo says Ashley. &ldquoThat is why they so easily believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. I would say keep the imagination going as long as it lasts!&rdquo
How the tooth fairy is good for kids
Even when your child is developmentally ready to know that the tooth fairy isn&rsquot real, media psychiatrist and bestselling author Dr. Carole Lieberman says it is soothing for kids to keep the tradition going.
&ldquoParents should never stop the tooth fairy tradition &mdash even once your child gets old enough, sophisticated enough or cynical enough to stop believing in fairies,&rdquo says Dr. Lieberman.
&ldquoWhy? Because teeth falling out are unconsciously symbolic of death and as such, is disturbing at any age. For example, when you dream about teeth falling out, you are worrying about death &mdash yours or someone else’s. So, pretending that a tooth fairy is giving your child a gift is soothing at any age during this transition.&rdquo
What do you do once the gig is up? &ldquoOnce your child says, ‘I don’t believe in tooth fairies anymore,’ just smile and leave something under his pillow, anyway,&rdquo she says.
My child is actually scared of the tooth fairy!
What should you do if your child is actually scared of the tooth fairy? &ldquoLet the child decide if they want the tooth fairy to come,&rdquo suggests pediatric dentist Dr. Jill Lasky. &ldquoIn my experience some kids don’t want to give up a part of them. If possible, find out what part about the tooth fairy scares them and adjust your family tradition accordingly. For example, leave a note instead of the actual tooth for the tooth fairy or leave a light on for the tooth fairy.&rdquo
Should you change the tradition for older kids?
As kids get older, Dr. Lasky says you can change what you leave under the pillow, such as leaving a gift card or a note about how they like being their tooth fairy, but she said to consider keeping the basic tradition the same. &ldquoKids like traditions! Honestly, I would not change much. It’s fun to feel like a little kid sometimes, especially when so much about being a pre-teen is about changing.”
Oops! The tooth fairy forgot to come!
It&rsquos happened to all of us tooth fairies &mdash we get busted in the act doing the under-the-pillow swap or forget to play the tooth fairy altogether. What should you do if you want to keep the tradition going?
Dr. Lasky suggests you say that &ldquoyou were helping the tooth fairy, like Santa’s elves or checking to see if the tooth fairy came yet.&rdquo She also says you could always fess up! (Of course, even though you fess up, you can still keep the tradition going.)
Did the tooth fairy forget to come one night leaving your child upset? &ldquoThe tooth fairy had a busy night. We’ll try again the next night,&rdquo says Dr. Lasky.
Or perhaps the kids went to bed too late? She says you can simply say, &ldquoGo to sleep on time the next night and the tooth fairy will come!”
My child has outgrown the tooth fairy
For some families, older kids might like reversing the roles and helping out the tooth fairy for siblings, especially for teens who have finished losing their teeth. &ldquoIn my house, the tooth fairy leaves money for lost teeth up until the child figures out that the tooth fairy isn’t real,&rdquo says parenting expert and DaddyScrubs.com founder Robert “Daddy” Nickell.
&ldquoI believe in fueling my children’s imaginations &mdash however, I also know that there will come a day when my kids won’t believe in the tooth fairy any longer. As that happens, my older children have enjoyed keeping the tradition alive by helping to ‘become the tooth fairy’ by leaving money for their siblings as they begin to lose their teeth, too. It’s fun to get everyone involved and excited about traditions and to keep budding imaginations strong as long as possible.”