Names for Santa Claus from around the world

Ah Santa, the jolly old chap with a red suit and a white beard. He really is a wonder, managing to deliver millions of presents globally, all whilst finding time at every house to stop off for a cheeky mince pie and a glass of sherry.

Here at Christmas Tree World, we don’t think he gets enough credit as all of his duties are perfectly executed within 24 hours. It takes us longer than that to decide how to tackle wrapping that awkwardly shaped present.

Now, we know the gift bearer here in the United Kingdom as Santa Claus...Father Christmas if you will, but have you ever wondered what he (or his equivalent) is called around the world?

Nope, us neither so we’ll have a look shall we?

Japan - Hoteiosho

The Japanese gift giver is Hoteiosho, a large bellied, Buddhist monk depicted as a kind old man carrying a large sack filled with presents. Hoteiosho also has eyes in the back of his head so that he can see how well children are behaving.

Sweden - Jultomten

Let’s kick off with Sweden where the jolly old fellow is called ‘Jultomten’ which translates as ‘Christmas Brownie.’  He’s described as being no taller than three feet with a white beard and fond of wearing a red knit cap.

Russia - Ded Moroz

In Russia, gifts are brought by ‘Ded Moroz’ which is translated in Russian as ‘Old Man Frost’ or 'Grandfather Frost'.  He wears a heel length coat, a fur hat and walks with a staff. Ded Moroz delivers gifts with his snow maiden, his granddaughter, Snegurochka.

Georgia  - Tovlis Papa

In Georgia, gifts are brought by ‘Tovlis Papa’ which translates as ‘Grandfather Snow.’ He is known to wear all white clothing and a cloak made from sheep's wool. Children leave out a treat made of walnuts and grape juice for Tovlis Papa when he comes down from the mountains on New Year’s Eve to bring gifts.

Finland - Joulupukki

The Finnish Christmas figure is named ‘Joulupukki’ meaning ‘Christmas goat’ or ‘Yule goat.’ He wears red leather trousers and a fur trimmed, leather coat and drives a flying wagon drawn by goats. Instead of entering a house via the chimney, he knocks on the front door asking for any well-behaved children.

China - Dun Che Lao Ren

Both Dun Che Lao Ren or 'Christmas Old Man’ and the laughing Buddha bring the gifts at Christmas time in China. They both wear a red outfit and on Christmas Eve, the Christian children in China hang up stockings for Dun Che Lao Ren to fill with gifts from the wicker basket he carries.

Iceland - Jolasveinarnir

In Iceland, the gift bearer, or bearer(s) should we say, are thirteen Jolasveinarnir or ‘Christmas lads.’ These cheeky fellows show up on a number of days around Christmas and perform a prank or trick whilst delivering presents to the children.

We’re sure that you will have learnt some interesting trivia to impress your friends and family with this Christmas.

Which gift bearer is your favourite?

Leave a comment below or tweet us: @christmastreeworlduk

Time for more? Become a wrap God...How to wrap presents perfectly | The history of the humble bauble | The ultimate Christmas quiz |

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