Santa Around The World

It may only be October but Santa & his team of Guru’s are well underway planning and preparing to make this year’s Family Jingle & Mingle event something truly magical.

One element of our big event will of course be visits and photographs with Santa Claus – he will be on site Sunday December 16th from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm and he just can’t wait to see all the good girls and boys who are ready to share their Christmas wishes with him!

Families around the world will be preparing for their special visit from Santa Claus this year in many unique ways, incorporating a range of different traditions. Here in Canada, many of us like to make sure we leave Santa a midnight snack of milk and cookies to help him on his busy night. In other parts of the world Santa is welcomed and celebrated in different ways – like in Ireland where the tradition is to leave out mince pies and a bottle of Guinness!

In Brazil people wait for Papi Noel (or Father Noel) who, according to legend, lives in Greenland. When he arrives to bring gifts he wears silk clothing because of the heat. In Australia people do their Christmas shopping in shorts & t-shirts due to the heat, and Santa has been known to arrive on beaches on a surf board. In Germany, where little dolls of fruit are traditionally given as Christmas toys, winged figures called Christkind dressed in white robes and golden crowns distribute gifts and children leave letters on their windowsills instead of treats.

Italy is visited by a witch called Befana who rides a broomstick. She slides down chimneys and fills stockings and shoes with good things for well behaved little girls and boys. In modern times, Italy has adopted Babbo Natale, Father Christmas.  In Finland the children do not hang up stockings, but Santa Claus comes to visit them in person, sometimes with as many as half a dozen of his elves. Children in France also leave shoes out by the fireplace. They fill their shoes with carrots and treats for Pere Noel’s donkey and then he re-fills them with gifts. In the mornings children will find things like toys, sweets, fruit and nuts hung on the tree.

In Japan there is a Buddhist monk called Hotei-osho who acts like Santa Claus, bringing presents to each house and leaving them for the children. Children try to behave when Hotei-osho is nearby because some say he has eyes in the back of his head.

There are so many traditions all around the world involving Santa –writing letters, visiting, and of course behaving all year long! Do you have any special traditions in your family when you are planning for Santa’s visit? Share your traditions with us here below.

No matter what your family’s special traditions are, everyone can be sure they’ll see Santa this year at our Family Jingle & Mingle celebration – maybe it can become a new family tradition!  Join us on Sunday, December 16th from 10:00-5:00 at the International Centre and visit with Santa, share your wishes and have your picture taken!

By Dominique Mazzuca