What Other Countries Call Santa Claus

Interest December 12, 2018 By Hugo

Ubiquitous with the Christmas season, Santa Claus is a jolly fat man dressed in red who hands who delivers gifts to children across the globe with the tradition deriving from the Christian Saint Nicholas who would throw gold into people's chimneys and the name 'Sant Claus' comes from Dutch immigrants to America who called Saint Nicholaus 'Sant Nicolaas' and this evolved over time.

Shutterstock/Roman Samborskyi

Although the definitive image of Santa seems fairly well defined across the world, his name alters from place to place. Depending on tradition or other influences, Santa's name changes around the world so here we look at some of his other names.


1. Great Britain - Father Christmas

Although American influence through various forms of media means that Santa Claus is a recognized term for the man in red on the other side of the pond, their own name for him is Father Christmas, a term that seems to recognize his position as the definitive authority on all things Christmassy.

Shutterstock/ Kiselev Andrey Valerevich

This may come about from his elderly looks and long white beard, but some speculate it may also incorporate older pagan traditions in the country like the characters of father time from the nearby New Year's celebrations. Traditionally he wore green before the color was changed to red and this is also have thought to have come from the pagan idea of the green man, father of the forest.


2. Norway - Christmas Gnome

You would think that being that much closer to where Santa lives, the Norwegians would know Santa's real name but they refer to him as the Christmas Gnome, which seems a bit harsh but he certainly does have gnome-like features, so we guess it makes sense what with him living with elves and having a long white beard and a pointy hat.

Shutterstock/Laimdota Grivane

This also goes some way to explaining his magical powers as Norwegians consider gnomes to be magical.

3. Finland - The Christmas Goat

In a Pagan tradition, Finnish people used to be visited by the Yule Goat, a magical goat that would visit in the winter and perform for leftover scraps of food. But as the awareness of Christianity and the concept of Christmas spread throughout the country, this tradition soon became conflagrated with that of Santa Claus coming to visit them.

Shutterstock/WilleeCole Photography

So, whilst he looks like a man and acts like a man (albeit a magical one) the Finns call him the Christmas Goat. Unlike the American version of Santa, he doesn't live in the North Pole but rather the Korvatunturi mountains of Finland.


4. Russia - Old Man Frost

The Russian name for Santa Claus seems to come from European folk tales that tell of old man frost, a story that varies from place to place but widely tells of a man who sprinkles frost and ice across the land when winter comes (sometimes known as jack frost).

Shutterstock/ Garijs Polskis

As such, Russians have combined the two into one as Santa brings both presents and a cold snap.

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