Q:

Why do people leave Santa cookies and milk at Christmas?

A:

Quick Answer

It is most likely that the tradition of Santa's cookies and milk stems from the medieval German custom of the "paradise tree." Other thoughts are that it is linked to the Great Depression, Norse mythology or Saint Nicholas himself.

Know More
Why do people leave Santa cookies and milk at Christmas?
Credit: neilkendall iStock Getty Images

Full Answer

A paradise tree was used by families in medieval Germany, and was decorated with apples, wafers and cookies. When this tradition merged with Christianity's customs, many families chose to continue decorating the Christmas tree with edible items. Eventually, the tradition moved from putting the food on the tree to leaving it on a table by the fireplace to be more convenient for Santa to snack. Milk was integrated with the snack since it is a beverage that naturally melds well with cookies.

The cookies and milk tradition may be linked to the Great Depression as well. It is simply a way of teaching the children that it is important to share, even when times might be hard. In Norse mythology, the Norse god Odin rode an eight-legged horse named Sleipner. He visited children during the Yule period, so the families left snacks out to entice him to visit their home. The feast of Saint Nicholas is on December 6th, and it may be possible that Santa's cookies and milk tradition stems from St. Nick's celebration. Children traditionally left St. Nick treats in exchange for presents the next day.

Learn more about Christmas

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do you track Santa on Christmas Eve?

    A:

    Track Santa's journey on Christmas Eve by visiting one of the Santa tracker websites online. To track Santa while you are away from home, download a Santa tracker app to your phones and tablets.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Who started Christmas?

    A:

    A specific person did not start Christmas, but Christmas is a traditional holiday celebrated by people throughout the world for different reasons. People find joy in exchanging gifts with one another and honoring religious tradition, and early peoples celebrated Christmas for similar purposes. Although Christmas is celebrated on December 25 in America, the holiday is commemorated on the winter solstice and alternate days of the year in other nations.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What can I write in my boyfriend's Christmas card?

    A:

    Christmas is a time when most people think back on the moments they shared with others and how they feel about their loved ones. While most Christmas cards come with a printed message inside, some couples go the extra mile by adding a special message for their loved ones written on the inside.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some Christmas traditions in Antarctica?

    A:

    Specific Christmas traditions in Antarctica can depend on the nationalities of the people at each station, but generally will include a Christmas meal and a party. For example, McMurdo Station celebrates by having a Christmas Eve party with songs from the Christmas Choir. Later on, the choir performs a recital and the station has a carol sing-along.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore