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Who Was Father Christmas?

Jul 25, 2008
Father Christmas.

Father Christmas dates back to the 1600's and was based on St Nicholas. St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra, a city in present day turkey during the 4th century. He was a kind hearted man and wanted to give to the poor and needy without them knowing. One story says that St. Nicholas climbed the roof of a house and dropped a bag of money down the chimney which landed in a stocking that a young girl had hung to dry.

Father Christmas had a stout frame and wore a long green robe because green represented the coming of spring and the hope of new life. Sometimes his robe was trimmed with fur. He also sometimes had a wreath of holly on his head. He was a friend to all people and animals loved him too. Father Christmas flew over houses on an enchanted white horse on Christmas Eve and left presents of chocolate and fruit in shoes the children would leave out for him.

Father Christmas in France.

In France Father Christmas is known as Pere Noel here he has a donkey named Mistletoe who helps him deliver all his gifts. In France homes are decorated with greenery and beautiful Christmas trees filled with ornaments. Special attention is paid to the crèche or nativity scene. In French nativity sets you find figures of the Holy Family, sheep, wise men and also shop keepers, farmers, fisherman, townsfolk, dogs, cats etc. These represent people and things from all walks of life and are called "les santons" or little saints. On Christmas Eve the baby is added to the crèche and most families gather to eat a large dinner. After dinner the family prepares for Pere Noel. Children fill their shoes with carrots and hay for Mistletoe and leave them by the fire with a glass of wine for Pere Noel. When all are asleep Pere Noel travels with Mistletoe and an overflowing bag of gifts to each home. He fills their shoes with candies and presents.

How Father Christmas Became Santa Claus.

During the 18th century people traveled to America from all over the world, bringing with them the cultures and traditions of their homelands. One of these was Father Christmas. In 1822 a poem was written by Clement Moore called "An Account of a visit from St. Nicholas." This described St. Nicholas as having eyes that twinkle, cheeks like roses, a smile with dimples on each side of his mouth, a white beard and mustache and he was jolly, chubby and plump. The poem also gave him an enchanted sleigh drawn by eight reindeer named, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder and Blitzen. He came down the chimney with a large pack of toys and gifts which he used to fill the stockings and put under the tree. Then in 1865 Thomas Nast drew a picture of an elf like Santa with a long white beard. He drew similar pictures of Santa for 30 years. In 1931 the Coca Cola Company hired an artist to draw Santa as warm, friendly, chubby and human, not elf like. This led to the jolly, plump Santa Claus of today. Since then Santa has had a round plump face and frame with a merry twinkle in his eyes. He wears a red plush suit with white fur trim and wide black belt, black boots and red and white stocking hat. He always has a large pack stuffed to over flowing with toys and gifts for everyone, young or old.
About the Author
Deby has been a writer for Christmas Decorations and Gifts for several years. View our Christmas Decorations Ideas. We have a great selection of Collectible Santa Figurines.
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