A mother in Plymouth, England, is saying she was scolded on the internet after she dared to refer to Santa Claus as “Father Christmas.” She was soon told the mystical luminary should be “seen as gender-neutral.”
“I’ve just been shamed [on a Facebook group] for using the name ‘Father Christmas’ and [told] that ‘Santa’ is now seen as gender-neutral,” said the unnamed mother, according to the Plymouth Herald. “I was only referring to the book below [‘Father Christmas’ by Raymond Briggs], but it’s left me a little confused/on edge about what we are [allowed] to say.”
“I have a small child,” she added, “and don’t really want to raise him saying ‘Father Christmas’ if it’s hurtful to some.”
While the original post — and its responses — have not been publicly shown, according to Fox News, other Facebook users were quick to respond to the backlash the mother faced.
“Seriously!” one user wrote in response. “He’s a guy, quite clearly a guy. I would have bitten back by calling him St. Nicholas, to be honest. The clue’s in the name, Nicholas not Nicola.”
“Glad my kids grew up knowing Father Christmas is based on St Nick… a man!” wrote another. “All for personal identities and encourage it, but come on! How messed up is this world we live in?”
While this may be a pointless debate, regardless of where you fall there is absolutely nothing wrong with the English mother referring to Santa Claus as “Father Christmas.” After all, the original St. Nicholas — the figure who inspired the whimsical man in red we see in shopping malls today — was, indeed, a man.
He is based on the Greek bishop St. Nicholas. The fourth-century religious leader endured quite a bit of persecution for his Christian faith, though he ultimately stayed true to his convictions and defended the church.
There is also a push this Christmas to celebrate females eager to embody the joy represented by Santa Claus, and there is no problem with that at all — he is an imaginative figure, anyway.
This year, Macy’s debuted a holiday commercial about a little girl who wants to be Santa Claus, handing out gifts gleefully to those in need.
And Disney released a Christmas movie, “Noelle,” on its new streaming service Disney+ about (spoiler alert) Kris Kringle’s daughter, who is full of Christmas spirit but remains supportive of her beloved brother Nick, who was heir to the Santa Claus name.
Nick, though, isn’t passionate about the job and runs far from it. Throughout the movie, it becomes increasingly clear Noelle is truly the right person to take the reins as the next Santa Claus.
Anyone can be Santa Claus because, as I wrote last Christmas, he isn’t a real person. Instead, he represents the spirit of giving and sacrificing — he is a symbol that points us to the real savior, Jesus, the center of the holiday season.
Santa is just an earthly reminder of God’s glory come down to meet us.