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When did Father Christmas become Santa Claus?

Posted by Big Boo on December 18th, 2009

father christmasYou may know him as Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle or Annual Gift Man (if you believe the writers of The Simpsons) but when I was very little the jolly fat man in the red suit was always known as Father Christmas.

At some point during my childhood though, the name Santa Claus started to rise in popularity, probably due to the way that British TV gradually started to become much more Americanised. This makes me wonder how many young children in the UK today know only the name Santa Claus, and whether it’s just that Santa Claus seems a little bit more “grown up” sounding than Father Christmas, so older children feel less babyish with this name?

Anyway, this was an idle musing of mine, but I thought it would be an interesting one for you to mull over. Tomorrow’s survey will be asking you which name you personally prefer, so have a little think and come back tomorrow to cast your vote. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your feelings about this, so why not post a comment below.

Sticking with the Father Christmas theme, here are some interesting facts about the man himself that you may not know:-

  • Traditionally, if you have been naughty, Father Christmas would just leave you a piece of coal. Try getting that to play on your Nintendo Wii.
  • Depending on where you live, his home could either be at the North Pole or perhaps Lapland, although every Nordic country lays claim to his residence and magical toy factory being situated within it’s borders.
  • In 2008, Canada officially awarded Santa with Canadian citizenship, since the North Pole is apparently under Canadian jurisdiction.
  • When writing your letter to Santa, don’t forget the postcode, which is H0H 0H0 (look at it carefully!). This is the official Canadian postcode for the North Pole!
  • The traditional red and white suit was cemented in history thanks to Coca Cola, who have been using this image since the 1930’s to advertise their beverage. Presumably he was given red and white to tie in with the soft drink can colours?