Father Christmas

Father Christmas
noun
the legendary patron saint of children; an imaginary being who is thought to bring presents to children at Christmas
Instance Hypernyms: ↑patron saint, ↑imaginary being, ↑imaginary creature

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noun [singular]

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ˌFather ˈChristmas [Father Christmas Father Christmases] noun (BrE)
= Santa Claus
 
Word Origin:
of obscure origin. His conventionalized image is comparatively recent; in late medieval Europe he became identified with St Nicholas (Santa Claus); in England Father Christmas was a personification of Christmas, a genial red-robed old man who appeared in many 16th-cent. masques and in mummers' plays, which were plays without words. There was a great revival of the celebration of Christmas in the 19th cent. and Father Christmas acquired (from St Nicholas) the association of present-bringing.  
Culture:
Santa Claus, also called simply Santa or, in Britain, Father Christmas, is a fat, cheerful old man with a long white beard who brings children their presents on ↑Christmas Eve. Traditionally, he wears a bright red suit, a red hat lined with white fur and shiny black boots. Santa Claus is said to live at the North Pole and to have a workshop there where he and his elves makes toys. Santa Claus is also called St Nick and identified with St Nicholas, who lived in the 4th century AD and is the patron saint of children
In the period before Christmas children write letters to Santa telling him what gifts they would like. In Britain these letters are ‘posted’ up the chimney or sent to local newspapers, which arrange for Santa to send a reply. Children are careful to behave well, because Santa only brings toys to good children.
During this time Santa can also be found visiting many large shops, so that children can tell him what presents they would like. In Britain children have to pay to enter Santa’s grotto and in return receive a small gift from him; in America visiting Santa is free.
On 24 December, the night before Christmas, children hang stockings (= long socks) at the end of their beds. Santa leaves the North Pole with a sled or sleigh. Santa’s sled is pulled by reindeer called Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph, who know how to fly. They travel through the air stopping on the roof of every house where a child is sleeping. Santa slides down the chimney and leaves big presents under the Christmas tree and small ones in the stockings. He usually finds that the children have left him a plate of Christmas cookies or, in Britain, a mince pie (= a small pastry containing dried fruits), and possibly salt or a carrot for his reindeer.
Santa Claus is an important symbol of Christmas, and pictures of him appear on Christmas cards and decorations. He is mentioned in poems and Christmas songssuch as ↑Night Before Christmas and ↑Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer. As children get older they realize that Santa Claus cannot be real and stop believing in him.

Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Father Christmas — n [singular] BrE an imaginary man who wears red clothes, has a long white beard, and is said to bring presents to children at Christmas = ↑Santa Claus …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Father Christmas — BRITISH an imaginary old man with a long white BEARD and red clothes who brings children their Christmas presents: SANTA CLAUS …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Father Christmas — ► NOUN ▪ an imaginary being said to bring presents for children on the night before Christmas Day …   English terms dictionary

  • Father Christmas — Brit. name for SANTA CLAUS …   English World dictionary

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  • Father Christmas —    The earliest evidence for a personified Christmas is a carol attributed to Richard Smart, Rector of Plymtree (Devon) from 1435 to 1477 (Dearmer and Williams, Oxford Book of Carols (1928), no. 21, 41 3); it is a sung dialogue between someone… …   A Dictionary of English folklore

  • Father Christmas — {n.}, {British} The joyful spirit of Christmas; Santa Claus. * /English children look forward to the visit of Father Christmas./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • Father Christmas — {n.}, {British} The joyful spirit of Christmas; Santa Claus. * /English children look forward to the visit of Father Christmas./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • Father\ Christmas — noun British the joyful spirit of Christmas; Santa Claus. English children look forward to the visit of Father Christmas …   Словарь американских идиом

  • Father Christmas — N PROPER Father Christmas is the name given to an imaginary old man with a long white beard and a red coat. Traditionally, young children in many countries are told that he brings their Christmas presents. [BRIT] Syn: Santa Claus (in AM, use… …   English dictionary

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