Father Christmas, Great Britain
The precursor to modern Santa donned a green robe & spread joy instead of gifts. His rise in popularity was due in part to a Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Over time, Father Christmas nerged with modern Santa in dress & gift giving.
The Yule Lads, Iceland
The Yule lads gained popularity from the short poem “Christmas arrives” in 1932. And their portrayal ranges from kindly pranksters to menacing child thieves. The Lads are known to leave gifts in shoes for good children & potatoes for the bad.
Tomte is similar to a garden gnome who lives in houses & watches over farmers. But he also has a temper & is quick to deliver punishment to those who cross him. He delivers gifts to the door and is given porridge with butter to eat afterward.
Promoted by Martin Luther to replace the popular holiday figure St.Nicholas. The Christkind’s intended to be a representation of the baby Jesus. In a similar fashion to Santa Claus, children never see Christkind leaving gifts.
Belsnikel, Germany & Austria
A companion of Santa, Belsnikel visits children before Christmas to remind them. To be on their best behavior before the arrival of Santa Claus. He will leave gifts for good children, but the bad children may get coal or the switch.
Pere Noel & Le Pere Fouettard, France
Similar to Santa Claus, Pere Noel is accompanied by his companion Le Pere Fouettard. Who is also know to deliver punishment and threats to children to behave. Children ofter leave gifts for Pere Noel’s donkey & receive gifts if they are good.
La Befana, Italy
Children in Italy receive gifts from both La Befana and Father Christmas. La Befana has a witch-like appearance & rides a broomstick through the sky. She is said to have fed the three wise men as they made their way to the baby Jesus.
Ded Moroz & The Snow Maiden, Russia
Ded Moroz, meaning the grandfather frost, is accompanied by his granddaughter. The snow maiden that assists with delivering gifts to children in person. While he does dress similarly to Santa, his sled is driven by horses instead of reindeer.
Sinterklaas & Black Peter, The Netherlands
Sinterklaas arrives in mid-November from Spain accompanied by Black Peter. Who will заеут leave gifts for good kids & coal or salt for the bad children. But the character has suffered a controversy due to the outdated depiction of blackface.
Another companion of Santa, the name Krampus literally translates as claw. And he is known to give out beating to poorly behaved children with a birch rod. The worst children may find themselves being tossed in a river in a burlap sack.