It’s been a cold Christmas Eve night throughout much of the world and Father Christmas is ready to find some warmth. He tracks through the snow in a quaint village in Europe and gently peaks in the door. Father Christmas discovers a spruce tree beautifully lit with white lights and shiny ornaments hung everywhere. Oh…what a sight to see! As he sneaks in and quietly delivers his goodies he spies a comfy chair next to the glowing, warm fireplace. He takes a few minutes to sit and ponder the beautiful things before him.
Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Pere Noel or Santa Claus are some of the more common names used to describe a white-bearded, red-cloaked man who delivers presents and cheer. He is a universal figure who appears in many cultures and countries from ancient times.
Father Christmas first appears as a jolly old man as a reaction against the Puritans’ resistance to celebrate Christmas. The 17th century English writer, Ben Johnson, gave 'Sir Christmas' his appearance but it was an American poet who provided Sir Christmas with his long fur-trimmed coat, flowing beard and the sleigh pulled by reindeers. This early 19th century American poet, Clement Clarke Moore, established the modern image of Father Christmas in his poem A Visit from St Nicholas more popularly known as The Night Before Christmas.