The Czech linguist and mathematician Jakub Marian has drawn up a map of Europe where he collects who is responsible for bringing illusion to homes. In Spain we have several characters who are responsible for distributing Christmas gifts to children and not so children. But, and in the rest of the continent?
You can see on the map that the traditions are diverse. The most predominant character is undoubtedly Santa Claus, which is the one that distributes gifts in Spain (half with the Three Kings, the Galician Apalpador, the Basque Olentzero and the Catalan Tió de Nadal), Portugal, Italy (who share tasks with the Baby Jesus, the witch Befana and even Santa Lucia), France, Belgium, United Kingdom, Ireland and Turkey.
On the other hand, In the center of Europe, the one who distributes the gifts is the Baby Jesus (center and south of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, part of Hungary …) and in the countries of Eastern Europe there is the character of Ded Moroz (in its different languages), an old man related to mythology Slavic that leads to winter, cold and snow. The Ded Moroz distributes the gifts in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Serbia, among others.
By last, in the Nordic countries we have Julenissen and Jultomten in Norway and Sweden (a Christmas gnome) and Joulupukki in Finland, a character that mixes with Santa Claus himself.