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Milk and—something special—for Santa

glass of milk with twisted candy can on edge of glass

Can you believe that Santa will soon be here? If you want him to make a stop at your house, then you’ll need to consider what treat you are going to leave for him. Given that he’ll likely get his fill of cookies, why not consider leaving him something special to let him know you appreciate his efforts? You may want to borrow an idea from another country, or just try a different type of treat.

In Australia Santa starts his Christmas Eve journey with a nice cold beer and a few carrots for the reindeer. This is a good tip—don’t forget to treat the reindeer right!

Swedish families provide Santa or Tomte, a mythological creature from Scandinavian folklore, with coffee to help keep him awake. You could do the same with a little cappuccino and biscotti.

If Santa needs to carbo load on something other than cookies, Denmark is the perfect place. Santa can settle down with a bowl of rice pudding (risengrod). Denmark folklore features the magical elves, Nisser and Tomte, who cause mischief if the bowl of risengrod is missing.

Santa’s friends in the Netherlands figure he has had enough to eat by the time he reaches their homes. Children leave gifts for “Sinterklaas’” reindeer such as carrots, hay and water. In exchange, Sinterklaas leaves marzipan, choco- late coins, hot cocoa and mandarin oranges.

Germany is another place where Santa and his herd don’t eat and drink. Instead, they read the personalized letters that children write to Christkind, Santa’s German alter ego. In the morning, German children enjoy presents left in place of their letters. This could be a nice tradition to start with your family.

In France, children leave carrots for reindeer and biscuits for Santa—or Père Noël as he is known there. Instead of stockings, French children leave out their shoes for Santa to fill with treats.

In England, Father Christmas, as he is known, is often greeted by a proper meal. You can follow suit, leaving Santa a little breakfast fare or a sandwich.

If none of these treats from around the world seem special enough for Santa, be creative with your own ideas. Something healthy like yogurt and fruit might tickle Santa’s fancy. Or, perhaps, bake your favorite cookies with a note to let him know you appreciate him. And remember, don’t forget the reindeer. Just think of all the work they’re doing to power Santa’s sleigh.