List of Christmas gift-bringers by country

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Scandinavian Christmas gift-bringer, a Christmas dwarf

This is a list of various Christmas gift-bringer figures from around the world.


Christmas gift-bringers in Europe

Santa Claus is widely known throughout Europe where his stories and legend originated but, in some countries, the gift-giver's name, attributes, date of arrival, and identity varies.

Northern Europe[edit]

Central Europe[edit]

In Central Europe (i.e. Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Southern Germany) Christkind ("Christ Child") is a common gift bringer, who also became known in other parts of the continent. In Northern Germany, however, the figure is Weihnachtsmann ("Christmas Man") and in Luxembourg the gifter is known as Kleeschen.

Slavic countries[edit]

In Slavic cultures there is the figure of the Ded Moroz (as known in Russia), and old man associated with ice and frost, known by its different names and depictions in the different Slavic languages and countries. His name is generally translated as "Grandpa Frost" or "Grandpa Christmas". This list show different countries whose cultures feature his figure:

  • Bosnia: Djed Božićnjak (also known as Božić Bata or Djed Mraz), who brings gifts to children on New Year's Eve.
  • Bulgaria: Дядо Коледа (Dyado Koleda, "Grandpa Christmas"), being somewhat more widespread in Socialist times from the end of World War II until 1989, and is still in favour today. The town of Velikiy Ustjug in the Vologda region is proclaimed to be his permanent residence.
  • Croatia: Djed Božićnjak ("Grandpa Christmas"), or Djed Mraz ("Grandpa Frost"). In Croatia there is also Mali Isus ("Baby Jesus") for religious Christians, and Sveti Nikola ("Saint Nichlaus") who brings gifts, or rod, on 6 December. In Dalmatia and Slavonia, Saint Lucy brings gifts to children on the eve of her feast day, 13 December.
  • Macedonia: Dedo Mraz
  • Russia: Дед Мороз (Ded Moroz: "Grandpa Frost")
  • Serbia: Деда Мраз ("Deda Mraz": "Grandpa Frost"), renamed from Божић Бата (Božić Bata: "Christmas Brother") during the Communist times after World War II, and moved from Christmas to New Year to prevent any religious connections.
  • Slovenia: Miklavž, Dedek Mraz, Božiček
  • Ukraine: Дід Мороз (Did Moroz: "Grandpa Frost"). Святий Миколай (Sviaty Mykolay, "Saint Nicholas").

In other Slavic nations, however, there are different gift bringers:

  • Czech Republic: Ježíšek ("Baby Jesus"). Mikuláš ("Nicholas") has a separate holiday (evening 5 December and), where he gives small presents to children and they have to sing Christmas carols in return. Sometimes he goes to houses together with angel and devil (čert), but Mikuláš is never involved with Christmas in the Czech Republic.
  • Poland: Gwiazdor ("Star's Man") or Święty Mikołaj ("Saint Nicolas")
  • Slovakia: Ježiško ("Baby Jesus") among the Catholic population, Dedo Mráz (Grandfather Frost)

Romanic countries[edit]

  • France: Le Père Noël ("Father Christmas") is a common figure France, as well as in other French-speaking areas. His name also influenced other Romanic countries in both Europe and the Americas.
  • Italy: Babbo Natale ("Father Christmas"), sometimes substituted by Gesù bambino ("Baby Jesus"), in order to give this gift-bringing character a more Catholic connotation. On the Epiphany, 6 January, La Befana, a very old lady who rides a broomstick, brings candies and sweeties to children and puts them in the socks the children have prepared for her (and traditionally have hung near the fireplace). In Trieste, because of Slovenian and Croatian influences, Saint Nicholas is also celebrated on 6 December. In Udine, Bergamo, Brescia, Cremona, Lodi, Mantova, Piacenza, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Verona and Western Trentino, Saint Lucy brings gifts to children on the eve of her feast day, 13 December.
  • Portugal: Although Menino Jesus ("Baby Jesus") is the traditional Christmas gift-bringer, the figure of Pai Natal ("Father Christmas") is more common nowadays.
  • Romania: Moş Crăciun ("Old Man Christmas"), Moş Gerilă ("Old Man Frost," the equivalent of the Russian Ded Moroz) in Socialist times, Moş Nicolae ("Old Man Nicholas," Saint Nicholas) is celebrated on 6 December and puts sweets in children's boots. For the Hungarian minorities "Angyal" The Angel brings the Christmas gifts or the child Jesus ("Jézuska" or "Kis Jézus"). Mikulás In 6 December("Nicholas" as Santa Claus puts candy in kids' boots (which are to be polished and put in the window), but Mikulás is never involved in Christmas.
  • Spain: Papá Noel ("Father Noel"), sometimes also called Santa Claus. More common and traditional Christmas present-giving figures in Spain are "Los Reyes Magos" ("The Three Kings", "Magi"). Other names include:

Other countries[edit]

  • Belgium: Père Noël for French speakers and Kerstman ("Father Christmas") for Dutch speakers, is celebrated on Christmas Day. Sinterklaas for the Dutch speakers, Saint Nicholas ("Santa Claus") for the French speakers, is celebrated on 6 December, and has a distinct character with a more religious, Catholic overtone.
  • Cyprus: Άγιος Βασίλης ("Saint Basil")
  • Greece: Άγιος Βασίλης ("Saint Basil"), who comes on January 1 (the feast day of St. Basil)
  • Hungary: In Hungary, the angels bring the Christmas gifts, or the child Jesus ("Jézuska" or "Kis Jézus"). Mikulás ("Nicholas" as Santa Claus) has a separate, earlier feast day (6 December), and puts candy in kids' boots (which are to be polished and put in the window), but Mikulás is never involved in Christmas.
  • Ireland: Daidí na Nollag ("Father Christmas") among Irish speakers
  • Netherlands: "Santa Claus," called Kerstman ("Christmas Man"), is celebrated by some people on Christmas Day. Sinterklaas is celebrated on 5 December.
  • Turkey: Noel Baba ("Father Noel"). Noel Baba is widely thought to bring New Year presents in Turkey due to the country's predominant Muslim population. Christmas is celebrated among the Christian communities.
  • United Kingdom: Father Christmas is also known as Santa Claus, although they were originally two quite different people, and Father Christmas did not originally bring gifts.

Americas and Oceania[edit]

Santa Claus and all Christmas-related culture were introduced the Americas and Oceania via European colonization.

Northern America and Oceania[edit]

In the United States, Australia, New Zealand and English-speaking Canada, Santa Claus is the commonest name for the Christmas gift bringer. Less usual names include Saint Nick (in Australia and the US), his full name Saint Nicholas (in Australia), Father Christmas (in Australia) and Kris Kringle (in the US). In French-speaking Quebec, he is known as Père Noël ("Father Christmas"), the same figure in the Christmas culture of France and its other colonies.

Latin America[edit]

In Latin America, Santa Claus is referred to with different names from country to country, mainly:

  • Papá Noel (Spanish)/Papai Noel (Portuguese), translated as Father Christmas and literally meaning "Dad Noel";
  • El Niño Diós (the Child God) or El Niño Jesús (the Child Jesus), both referring to Christ Child and
  • Santa Clós or Santo Clós, Spanish form of Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas.

The following table shows which names are used in each country:

Papá Noel
(Father Christmas)
El Niño Diós
(Child God)
El Niño Jesús
(Child Jesus)
Santa Clós
(Santa Claus)
 Brazil Papai Noel in Portuguese. Also known as Bom Velhinho ("Good Little Oldie"). Pelznickel ("Nick in Fur" or "Jungle Santa Claus") also brings gifts.
 Chile Known as Viejito Pascuero ("The Little Oldie of the Easter"), referring to him appear in the "Christmas time", which in Chile is called simply "Easter" or "Passover" (Pascua). Depiction is generally the same of the classical Santa Claus.
 Costa Rica Also referred to as San Nicolás (Saint Nicholas) or his nickname Colacho.
 Dominican Republic Christmas gifts are given by The Three Kings (Los Tres Reyes Magos) on the Epiphany (6 January) and not on Christmas.
 Mexico Also Los Tres Reyes Magos (The Three Kings).
 Puerto Rico
 Venezuela The two names vary depending upon the region.

Africa and the Middle East[edit]

Christians in Africa and the Middle East who celebrate Christmas generally ascribe to the gift-giver traditions passed down to them by Europeans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • Afghanistan: Papa Noël (Arabic: بابا نويل baba noel); Baba Chaghaloo
  • Egypt: Papa Noël (Arabic: بابا نويل baba noel)
  • Iran: Papa Noël (Persian: بابا نوئل baba noel)
  • Israel: סנטה קלאוס (Santa Claus in Hebrew letters. Most of the population in Israel is Jewish and does not recognize the entity known as "Santa Claus")
  • South Africa: Sinterklaas, Father Christmas, Santa Claus
  • Syria: Papa Noël (Arabic: بابا نويل baba noel)

East Asia[edit]

People in East Asia, particularly in countries that have adopted Western cultures, celebrate Christmas and the gift-giver traditions passed down to them from the West.

  • China: Shengdan laoren (Traditional Chinese: 聖誕老人, Simplified Chinese: 圣诞老人, Cantonese: sing daan lo jan, pinyin: shèngdànlǎorén literally, "The Old Man of Christmas")
  • Hong Kong: 聖誕老人 (jyutping: sing3 daan3 lou5 jan4 (literally, "Christmas Old Man"), Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas
  • Indonesia: Santa Claus or Sinterklas
  • Japan: サンタクロース (Santa Kuroosu, or Santa-san)
  • Korea: 산타 클로스 (Santa Harabeoji or "Grandfather Santa")
  • Philippines: Santa Claus. Traditionally, it was the Los Tres Reyes Magos ("The Three Kings")
  • Taiwan: 聖誕老人 or 聖誕老公公 (both literally "The Old Man of Christmas")
  • Thailand: ซานตาคลอส (Santa Claus)
  • Vietnam: Ông Già Nô-en (literally, "The Old Man of Christmas")

Rest of Asia[edit]

Santa Claus is also present in cultures of Central and South Asia.