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Father Christmas and Santa Claus

December 7, 2014

One of the linguistic differences between British and American speakers of English is that we say Father Christmas and they say Santa Claus. Actually British people say both, but Father Christmas much more often; while Americans never say Father Christmas at all. Funny that. I don’t know the reason.

By the way, the anthropologist Margaret Mead said that Father Christmas/Santa Claus is obviously a phallic symbol. He’s big, he’s red, he comes down the chimney and leaves a present in the sock. So that’s the real meaning of Christmas.

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6 Comments
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    Sent from my BlackBerry® PlayBook™www.blackberry.comFrom: “Brandon Robshaw and the English Language” <comment-reply@wordpress.com>To: “egyoung@nb.aibn.com” <egyoung@nb.aibn.com>Sent: 7 December, 2014 7:45 AMSubject: [New post] Father Christmas and Santa Claus

    brandonrobshaw posted: “One of the linguistic differences between British and American speakers of English is that we say Father Christmas and they say Santa Claus. Actually British people say both, but Father Christmas much more often; while Americans never say Father Christmas”

  2. Look, who puts their cock down a chimney then ejaculates into a sock? apart from, I suppose, Santa fetishists?

    • Sorry for delay in replying to this, I’ve been up on the roof… Anyway, look, if you don’t agree you’d better take it up with Margaret Mead.

  3. Chris H permalink

    A year on, but I just bumped into this item… Different names – different people. Father Christmas is an English folklore tradition going back around 500 years being an embodiment of good cheer, feasting, revelry, and later on does a bit of gift giving too.

    In some parts of Europe a St Nicholas > Sinterclaas character is an important element instead. Originally a different person entirely

    British colonial America was fairly puritan in its approach to Christmas so there’s have not been much room for a Father Christmas character to go over with the settlers, but later waves of immigrants brought over European traditions and somewhere around the early to mid 1800s the Santa Claus thing got started.

    You can waste hours online looking at how the various traditions – properly traditional or invented – bounce around the world cross-fertilising each other as the net is full of information and misinformation on the matter.

    And there’s plenty more out there – Odin may be the source of the white beard, and oddly at one point in protestant Europe (so not keen on Saints including St Nick) Luther promoted a Jesus-child gift-giver. That’s the Christ Child > Christkind / Christkindl > Kris Kringle.

  4. Yes, you are quite right, Chris. I only found out recently that Santa Claus and Father Christmas were originally different people. I intend to blog about it. Thanks for comment!

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