I then found out that Father Christmas is a name used in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and several other Commonwealth countries and the USA, for the gift-bringing figure of Christmas or Yuletide. He also exists in France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. Today Father Christmas and Santa Claus are often used synonymously, but historically the characters were different. The use of "Santa" instead of Father Christmas is an Americanism. It originated from Dutch settlers' stories about Sinter Klass, the Dutch name for St Nicholas, and how he gave presents to girls and boys. Santa Claus is the American pronunciation of Sinter Klaas.
The personification of Christmas as a merry old figure begins only in the early 17th century. He was created jolly and "old" because of the antiquity of the feast itself.
The earliest recorded personification of Christmas was in Ben Jonson's (a poet and writer) play "Christmas his Masque", dated from December 1616. in which Christmas appears as "attir'd in round Hose, long Stockings, a close Doublet, a high crownd Hat with a Broach, a long thin beard, a Truncheon, little Ruffes, white shoes, his Scarffes, and Garters tyed crosse". Nothing to do with the Santas we see nowadays especially the "thin beard"!
From there on during 250 years, "Santa" appeared as Sir Christmas, Lord Christmas, or Father Christmas which became the most common.
The figure that we know today was introduced by artist Haddon Sundblom in advertisements for the Coca-Cola Company. In affect, the Coca-Cola Company has, over the decades, brought joy to millions of children around the world. A truly remarkable feat.
It is rather disappointing to learn the origin of "Father Christmas" or "Santa" when you consider that he only exists because somebody has created him for a play and Coca Cola invented his today's image !
and today !
I have got this award from Hootin Anni and thank her very much ! I only hope she will not be too disappointed when she reads her beloved "Santa's" origins. She is such a big Santa fan !