Is ‘Santa’ a Woman? Here’s What Santa Claus Looks Like in 8 Countries Around the World

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Many Americans used to think of Santa Claus as the jolly man in the red suit with a sack full of toys to deliver to children around the world on Christmas.

And with the spreading of Hollywood movies and pop-culture, this ‘image’ is also well-known for people all over the world but it doesn’t mean he’s the only one version of a mythical being who either rewards or punishes children and gives out gifts around Yuletide.

Nexter.org has found out how Santa Claus is portrayed in 13 countries around the world.

United Kingdom — Father Christmas

Source: Disney Food Blog

Although you will see the more popular, red-suited version of Santa on Christmas in the UK, the traditional British Father Christmas wears a hooded green cloak, a wreath of holly or ivy, and carries a staff. His appearance — like many Christmas traditions — is rooted in pagan mythology.

In pop culture, he resembles the Ghost of Christmas Present in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

France — Père Noël or Papa Noël

Source: Jacob Windham/ Wikimedia Commons

While his name may just be French for Father Christmas, Père Noël has his own Christmas traditions.

He wears a long red cloak instead of a red suit, and children leave their shoes by the fireplace hoping that they will be filled with goodies after mass on Christmas Eve.

Russia — Ded Moroz and Snegurochka (Father Frost and Snow Maiden)

Source: Yogi555/ Wikimedia Commons

Ded Moroz (translated as Father Frost) is a figure of Slavic mythology, often depicted as a wizard or demon. Traditionally, he would punish naughty children by kidnapping them, but this darker part of Ded Moroz’s personality has softened over the years.

Now, on New Year’s Eve, he travels all over the Slavic region, mainly in Russia and Ukraine, carrying gifts for children with his cheerful companion, Snegurochka the Snow Maiden.

The Netherlands — Sinterklaas

Source: P. M. (Pieter) Wiersinga/ Wikimedia Commons

Sinterklaas is the Dutch version of Santa Claus who most resembles St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children and inspiration for the modern Santa Claus legend.

Sinterklaas comes riding into town on a white horse, wearing a tall, red bishop’s hat and a jeweled staff. He knocks on doors and brings gifts to good children, while his companion, Grumpus, rattles chains at naughty children and threatens to kidnap them.

Austria, Switzerland, and Germany — Christkind or Christkindl

Source: Lennart Preiss/ Getty

Christkind or “Christ Child” is the benevolent (usually female) gift-bringer who leaves presents for good children on Christmas Eve.  She makes appearances to Lutheran families in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, and the Slovakian region, and usually appears wearing a crown and long, curly blonde hair.

Finland — Joulupukki or Yule Goat

Source: Tony Nordin/ Wikimedia Commons

Joulupukki, also known as the Yule goat, has been nicknamed the Finnish Santa. Before globalism naturally combined traditional Scandinavian customs with modern-day Santa Claus, the Yule goat was a malevolent spirit associated with the Norse god Odin who knocked on doors and demanded gifts and leftovers from the Yuletide feasts.

Italy — La Befana

Source: Eleonora Gianinetto/ Flickr

Long before the man in the red suit was bringing toys to children on Christmas, La Befana — a good-natured witch who flies around on a broomstick — was doing the same for good children in Italy. She has been a part of Italian folklore since the 8th century.

Iceland — Yule Lads

Source: Legendary Entertainment

The Yule Lads are 13 mischievous Icelandic elves — who instead of making toys in Santa’s workshop — play tricks on children. Pottasleiki for instance, will steal your leftovers, while Gryla — the mother of the 13 Yule Lads — will kidnap you if you have behaved badly.

See also, the best and easiest cocktail recipes for men:


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'Santa' Is a Woman? Here’s What Santa Claus Looks Like in 8 Countries Around the World
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'Santa' Is a Woman? Here’s What Santa Claus Looks Like in 8 Countries Around the World
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Many Americans used to think of Santa Claus as the jolly man in the red suit with a sack full of toys to deliver to children around the world on Christmas. And with the spreading of Hollywood movies and pop-culture, this 'image' is also well-known for people all over the world but it doesn't mean he's the only one version of a mythical being who either rewards or punishes children and gives out gifts around Yuletide. Nexter.org has found out how Santa Claus is portrayed in 13 countries around the world.
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