When I was little, he was called Father Christmas, NEVER Santa Claus. Santa was, we were told, what children in America called him, and Saint Nicholas, what people in Europe called him. He was all the same person, but he was drawn and portrayed in different ways. Father Christmas usually didn't have a hat (when seeing him in real life. He did on cards and on the big statue of him in the mall), he had a wreath of holly or ivy on his head, he also often
wore a robe or a hood. He often wore glasses. Sometimes he had pants and black boots, other times an ankle length robe or coat. He seemed a bit more mystical though he was still jolly. Over the years, the increased American media, and the Internet, has led to people in shops calling him 'Santa' on signs, and children saying 'Santa' because of the tv shows they're watching which have him in it. My own brother is saying 'Santa', and he's 21. But he also insists on saying 'cookies' and 'candy' instead of biscuits and lollies just to piss me off- he likes saying the American words in a 'funny' way, like he's imitating a tv show.
This change makes me sad. I'm not entirely sure why, maybe because it's another example of us losing our uniqueness. A sign of commercialism, and mass media, and almost brainwashing. 'Father Christmas' puts a nice, calm image and feeling in my head. 'Santa Claus' somehow does not. It almost doesn't seem like the same person, though I know the idea is the same. I will find it weird if my children eagerly await 'Santa' where I was excited for 'Father Christmas'. A weird culture shock in my own country and within 20 years. I guess I can still call him Father Christmas with my own children.
People right now are complaining that Santa is too fat, and is a bad example. Father Christmas (and Saint Nicholas for that matter) were never traditionally hugely obese (sure in some books they were, but the ones I saw in shops, were not). Maybe a bit of a belly but it didn't usually require shoving 3 pillows up your front. Maybe we should go back to the look they had in the 80s rather than the look they're having now. Then they still look Jolly, rather than like Gandalf dressed in red.
What did the Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle, etc etc, look like when you were little? And do you still call him the same thing? (Especially if you're not American). What do you think about that?
The actual Father Christmas of my childhood, from the John Martin's Christmas Pageant. I visited him in John Martin's every year.
Somehow him not having a hat makes a difference. And though he looks reasonably similar to the American one here, except not having a hat, most of the Santas around the place that I saw as a kid had hoods, long robes (sometimes over the top of the belted suit), no hat, glasses, long hair (not just a long beard) and all sorts.
This blog was originally created to document my trying to help out my best friend in his endeavours to get back to Australia.
It now talks about the websites we work on together, my life, the books I read, student teaching, Australia in general, and anything else I can think of.
He and I drink tea together. I'm going to miss it a lot.
Want to ask me a question about Australia or teaching? Feel free to comment and ask!