Santa Claus And Father Christmas Used To Be Two Completely Different Characters

By | December 12, 2019

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Santa Claus influenced the transformation of Father Christmas. (

Today, we tend to think of Santa Claus and Father Christmas as one and the same, along with Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, and every other name the fat guy in the red suit goes by. Indeed, the backstories and modus operandi of each of these characters are nearly identical, from flying sleighs and reindeer to a North Pole workshop. In truth, Father Christmas was once more than Santa Claus's British disguise. Santa Claus and Father Christmas were once completely different characters who, through the magic of Christmas, morphed into one figure. Let's take a look at how that happened. 

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Father Christmas was a pagan figure depicted wearing a long blue cloak. (

Who Was The OG Father Christmas?

The British have a long tradition of feasting and making merry with a mid-winter celebration, and sometime in the 1400s, a fictional personification of the festival emerged in writings and songs. At first, this personification was a pagan character who signaled the midway point of winter and ushered in spring, but as Christianity spread to the British Isles, he took on a decidedly more spiritual role, heralding the news of Christ's birth and announcing the start of the festivities. According to the ancient texts, he was called "Father Christmas" but also "Sir Christmas" and "the King of Christmas," both of which we can all agree are way better.

By the late medieval era, Father Christmas was known as a tall, thin old man with a flowing white beard who wore a blue hooded cloak. Between the winter solstice on December 21 and the end of the month, he wandered around the region, handing out gifts to the good people he encountered and doling out punishments to the wicked. During the Victorian era, Father Christmas was an important figure who delivered Christmas spirit to young and old and encourage folks to eat, drink, and be merry.