Santa Claus and Father Christmas

Happy Boxing Day!

I thought someone had already blogged about Boxing Day, did a search and discovered it was me! So this time, instead I’ll talk about Santa Claus/Father Christmas. Did you know they were not always synonymous?

I grew up with the classic Christmas specials and loved them, but wasn’t particularly drawn to Santa Claus as a character.

My favorite was and is the Grinch, in which Santa Claus never actually appears, but the Whos sing their song anyway. Many versions of Santa seem like buffoons that embody the commercialism of the season. I wasn’t offended by the fat, peevish Santa from the Night Before Christmas.

About the only modern version of Santa Claus I really like is the one in The Polar Express.

Now I know that as a child, I must have been a budding Anglophile. What I really wanted was the traditional Father Christmas. According to, Father Christmas had entirely separate origins than Saint Nicholas/Santa Claus. During the Regency, he would have been quite different from what we think of now. He was not associated with Santa Claus, nor did he bring gifts, until the late 19th century. He was more what I long for: a pagan spirit of the season, magical/natural, young/old, merry/solemn, Dumbledore in red—or even better, traditional green—robes.

The Polar Express Santa comes close. Even better, I like Father Christmas the way he is depicted in the Narnia movies and traditional English folklore.

What versions of Santa Claus/Father Christmas, if any, do you enjoy? What are your favorite Christmas specials? Hope everyone is having a fun and peaceful holiday season!


About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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