father christmas looking out across snowy forest and sky
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Names for Father Christmas from around the world

In the UK, he’s known as Father Christmas, while Santa Claus is the US name but now more widely spread (after all it’s shorter to say, and prevalent in all the movies). But around the world there are numerous different names for Father Christmas or Santa Claus, and here’s some of them below.

names for father christmas around the world.

Other names for Father Christmas around the world

Saint Nicholas – folklore had Saint Nicholas as a 4th century greek bishop who handed out gifts to the poor in what is now Turkey. Many countries use this name for their version of Santa Claus.

Santa Claus – United States, Canada, Australia, and many other English-speaking countries. The name originated in North America in the 19th Century, based on the folklore surrounding Saint Nicholas.

Kris Kringle – alternative in the US, which became more popular in some areas around the 1820s, taken from the german words Christkindl.

Father Christmas – United Kingdom. This name dates back to the 16th century, where he was the symbol of Christmas cheer and feasting during Henry VIII’s time.

Sinterklaas – Netherlands and Belgium. Sinterklaas evening is 6 December, and this is when many children receive their gifts, rather than (or as well as) on Christmas day. 

Père Noël – France

Papá Noel – Spanish-speaking countries, including Latin America. Some countries like Mexico or Venezuela also call him Santo Clós.

Père Fouettard – Switzerland (french speaking) and Samichlaus (in the german speaking region)

Babbo Natale – Italy

Pai Natal – Portugal

Weihnachtsmann – Germany, although some areas still have Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas – Austria

Joulupukki – Finland. Originally dating back to a pagan tradition which literally means Yule Goat. Now it tends to be linked to Santa Claus

Julenisse – Norway 

Jultomten – Sweden

Julemanden – Denmark

Jolasveinar – Iceland. Not a singular Father Christmas, but 13 Yule Lads, visiting across 13 days to the 6th January.

San Niklaw – Malta

Ayios Vassilis or Hagios Nikolaos – Greece

father christmas looking out across snowy forest and sky

Święty Mikołaj – Poland

Mikulás – Hungary

Dyado Koleda – Bulgaria

Shakhta Babah – Azerbaijan

Sveti Miklavz – Slovenia 

Svyatyy Mykolay – Ukraine

Ded Moroz – Russia

Papai Natal – Brazil

Kanakaloka – Hawaii

Santa Kurohsu – Japan or the alternative name of Hoteiosho

Father Christmas/Santa Claus or Sing Dan Lo Ian – Hong Kong

Sinterklass – Indonesia (derived from the previous Netherlands rule)

Christmas Baba, Christmas Taatha, or Natal Bua – India

Kersvader – South Africa

Papa Bronya – Ghana

As well as Father Christmas, some countries and cultures have their own additional Christmas or holiday season figures and traditions associated with gift-giving during the holiday season.  These may help Santa Claus bringing gifts, or have other stories or roles to play at different times in December or January.

What do you call Father Christmas where you’re from?

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