Photo: Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy: The Three Wise Men. Nina-no/Wikimedia
Kings are cooler than Santa
In a 2015 survey, Spanish children overwhelmingly chose the Three Kings as their favourite gift giver (67 percent) over Santa Claus (27 percent).
In Spain ‘Los Reyes Magos’ - Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar - play a similar role to Santa Claus in many other parts of the world. Spanish children write letters to the Three Kings, or Three Wise Men, who then bring the children gifts the night before, or on the morning of the Epiphany, January 6th.
In some houses children leave their shoes outside the door so that the Three Kings will fill them with gifts, often leaving bigger presents alonsgide.
Just as children in many other places leave out some food and drink for Santa, and a carrot for Rudolph, Spanish children make sure to leave a drink for each of the Three Kings and some food and drink for their camels - as this is the only night of the year when the animals eat and drink.