The Real Father Christmas
Origins    History    Gallery    Costume    Shop      

The Origins of Father Christmas.

There have been figures similar to Father Christmas throughout the European history, one famous example was the one eyed “Odin The Wanderer” one version of the Norse God Odin, who wandered through the countryside dressed in a blue cloak. Odin had peculiarly magical properties and was associated with shamanism. There are also the numerous “spirit of the woods” figures often depicted with foliage about there person or even spewing from the their eyes, nose and mouth. In the 21st Century we refer these to these images as the Green Men. The Green Man is a symbol of new life and regeneration, ideas that were particularly relevant in the Mid-Winter, which seemed superficially lifeless.

Since medieval times there has been a desire to somehow represent the Christmas season as a person. Very often this was the Christ Child, in fact some nations ascribe gift giving powers the infant Christ in the very same way we now do for Santa Claus or Father Christmas.

By the late Middle-Ages the spirit of Christmas was increasingly represented as an older man known by a variety of titles, including Lord Christmas, Sir Christmas or Old Father Christmas.

It is in fact in the post-reformation period that the British Father Christmas becomes solidified into a lasting form, his image and legend being adopted by those resisting the extremes of puritanism which demanded the end of Christmas and similar holidays done away with. This was no doubt partly because of their association with Catholicism and partly due to the excess enjoyed during the season. In some nations such as Scotland the reformation managed to almost eradicate Christmas from the calender altogether, New Year or “Hogmany” taking its place. Those who championed the value of the sacred calender adopted Father Christmas as a symbol of their beliefs.

The woodland spirit of regeneration, joy and merriment combined with an avatar for the beliefs of Christmas itself, Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards men.

The Trial of Father Christmas.

The Examination And Trial of Father Chritstmas (1686).

Odin the Wanderer.
Terms and Conditions  Contact  Links