For years (centuries even) children have been leaving milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. Never mind that’s how he gets to the bowl full of jelly part.
The tradition goes way back to when Santa Claus was known as St. Nicholas. On St. Nicholas Day (Celebrated December 6, we’ll talk about that another time), children would leave out food and drink which would be exchanged for gifts overnight.
In other traditions, such as in Germany where the first Christmas trees were decorated with apples and cookies Santa would often snack on the tree decorations. When decorations became shiny balls and baubles, the tradition of the snacks remained.
Norse mythology had children leaving out hay and other treats for Sleipner, Odin’s eight legged horse.
During the Depressionin the United States parents wanted to teach their children to share, even though they themselves might be struggling, so they would encourage the children to leave snacks for Santa and the reindeer.
While Children around the world leave various treats for Santa, the cookies and milk seem to be the American version of a long-standing tradition.
Santa doesn’t seem to mind.