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Localizing Christmas – Santa and his global helpers

Localizing Christmas – Santa and his global helpers

Whilst we all know Santa Claus / Father Christmas is the main gift bearer at Christmas, did you know there are many other gift bringers other than Santa in various countries? And whilst there are many other gift bringers, Santa is also localized in lots of different countries. We take a look in a latest Localizing Christmas blog.

We look at some of the most unheard and unusual names of those who help Santa  in his festive duties and also localized Santa alternatives!


In Belgium they have numerous names for Santa, Sinterklaas/St Niklaas (Flemish) or Saint Nicholas (Walloon) AND Pere Noel (Father Christmas), each one has their very own folk tale.


Whilst Brazil does not traditionally celebrate a cold and frosty Christmas, they depict Santa as many European countries do, all cozy and warm in his red suit. Their alias’ for good old St.Nick are Papai Noel and Bom Velhinho, which translated in to English is the Good Old Man.


Over in Austria it isn’t only St. Nicholas who is a prominent figure, children believe ‘Christkind’ decorates their tree. Christkind is known as a golden-haired baby, with wings who is a symbol for the newborn Christ.


On Christmas Eve in Haiti children place their brand new clean shoes filled with straw for Tonton Nwel, otherwise known as Father Christmas. The belief is Tonton Nwel will remove the straw and replace it with presents, in and around the shoe. Sounds like a fair trade to us!


The Yuletide Lads in Iceland play a big part in Yule (Christmas). They are said to be magical people who come from the mountains and it is believed that one comes each day from December 12th all the way through to Christmas Eve, also known as Yule Eve! But it isn’t only the Yuletide Lads that come to visit the people of Iceland, the Jolasveinar who are thought of as playful elves will come to play tricks on people and to warn children if they have misbehaved.

Norway & Sweden

In Norway Santa is helped not by his traditional little elf helpers, but his little Nordic gnomes! Yes, they are called ‘Nisse” and they are thought to bring gifts for children on Christmas Eve. Nisse are so popular there are hobgoblin (Nisse) decorations that are put up in December. Similarly, to Norway, Sweden also have gifts brought to them by Santa’s elves Nissar (male) and Nissor (female), Santa in Sweden is known as Jultomten.


Whilst many countries will have gifts brought to them by Santa and his many helpers in December, it is widely popular that Russians receive gifts on New Year instead. ‘Ded Moroz’ (Grandfather Frost) and his Grandaughter (Snegurochka) bring presents to children on New Year’s Eve after children hold hands around the Christmas tree and call for Ded Moroz.


Lastly, we look at Denmark, who don’t even have a Santa Claus, simply a Julemanden which translates to Christmas Man, he lives in Greenland, likes rice pudding and is helped by his little nisser!

We hope you enjoyed our Jonckers Localizing Christmas blog. Wherever you are in the world, whoever delivers your festive cheer, be sure to enjoy it and we wish you the very best for the holidays.

Written by : Beth Zarkhosh – Marketing Assistant

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