During the Reformation in 16th–17th century Europe, many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve. It is the night when Santa Claus makes his rounds delivering gifts to good children.
In the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia and Hungary, where St. Nicholas (sv. Mikuláš/szent Mikulás) gives his sweet gifts on December 6, the Christmas gift-giver is the Child Jesus (Ježíšekin Czech, Jézuska in Hungarian, Ježiško in Slovak and Isusek in Croatian).
In most parts of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, presents are traditionally exchanged in the evening of December 24. Children are commonly told that presents were brought either by theChristkind (German for: Christchild), or the Weihnachtsmann (German name of Santa Claus). Both leave the gifts, but are in most families not seen doing so.
In Netherlands, Argentina, Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Quebec, Romania, Uruguay, and Sweden, Christmas presents are opened mostly on the evening of the 24th, – this is also the tradition among the British Royal Family, due to their mainly German ancestry – while in Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, English Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, this occurs mostly on the morning of Christmas Day.
In other Latin American countries, people stay awake until midnight, when they open the presents.
In Spain, gifts are traditionally opened on the morning of January 6, Epiphany day ("Día de Los Tres Reyes Magos"), though in some other countries, like Argentina and Uruguay, people receive presents both around Christmas and on the morning of Epiphany day.