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Comic Book / Father Christmas

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"Happy Blooming Christmas to you too!"

A 1973 graphic novel by Raymond Briggs. This is a very different version of Father Christmas or Santa. He doesn't live in the North Pole with Mrs. Claus, his elves and his eight tiny reindeer; instead he lives in a London townhouse with two reindeer and his cat and dog. Far from being jolly, he's grumpy and treats his job, well like a job like any other bloke. The book covers his nightly run and the labor it takes from getting his sled ready, having to deal with the cold and the snow, and tight chimneys. His final delivery on the night is none other than to HM The Queen at Buckingham Palace. As he finishes he runs into a friendly milkman who looks remarkably similar to Briggs' father.

Briggs wrote a sequel in 1975 called Father Christmas Goes on Holiday where he well goes on holiday. He converts his sled into a caravan and after misadventures in camping grounds in France and Scotland, he checks into a Las Vegas Casino resort for a very long stay, until he's reminded to get back to work by a child guest.


Both books were combined into a short film with Mel Smith as the voice of Father Christmas in 1991 by the same company that made The Snowman as companion piece to the latter film; both James and the Snowman make a cameo in the film as well.


  • Acid Reflux Nightmare: Father Christmas has one of these after eating an incredibly high-fat meal on his first night in France.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The film combines books so they both happen in the same year. The events of Father Christmas Goes on Holiday come first and his Christmas run comes after.
  • Bad Santa: Well, not really bad, but less squeaky-clean and relentlessly jolly and more grumpy than most portrayals.
  • Big Eater: A little too much. See Acid Reflux Nightmare above.
  • Bowdlerisation: When the film was released in America, Father Christmas was given a new voice actor and made less grumpy and more jolly (and more posh) to better fit American sensibilites (and for family audiences). Also all traces of the word "bloomin'" were removed.
    • In the British version, Father Christmas' favorite present is a bottle of booze, in the American dub it's cologne.
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  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Father Christmas during the Framing Device.
  • Catchphrase: Father Christmas injects the word "bloomin'" into every other sentence.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Briggs' father appears in the background as a milk an. He later starred in his own graphic novel and movie, Ethel & Ernest.
  • Expy Coexistence: Briggs' father, Ernest makes a background cameo in Father Christmas. There's another cameo from Jim and Hilda Bloggs from When the Wind Blows, whom Briggs based on his parents.
  • Foreign Queasine: Averted, then played straight, then averted again: Father Christmas orders everything on the menu when he's in France, even though everything is "a la creme" — served with a cream sauce, or otherwise containing cream (such as his coffee.) It's all delicious, but he gets terrible indigestion. Later on, in Scotland, he cheerfully tucks into a plate of haggis.
  • Framing Device: The cartoon starts and ends with Father Christmas Breaking the Fourth Wall as he tells the audience about his holiday and job.
  • French Cuisine Is Haughty: When Father Christmas is on holiday in France, he initially loves the food but is then indignant that they don't have bottled table sauces that he can put on it. Later on, he goes to a cafe for breakfast and is disgusted when all they'll give him is a croissant and a cup of coffee.
  • Friend to All Children: The reason why despite all the complaining Father Christmas has about his job, he does it every year-he loves the kids.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Father Christmas.
  • High-Class Glass: When Father Christmas visits a casino in Las Vegas in Father Christmas Goes on Holiday, he completes his image as a high roller by sporting a monocle. Ironically, it's just a cheap plastic toy he found in a Christmas cracker the year before, but it does suit him.
  • Leaving Food for Santa: Father Christmas has Father Christmas getting rather tipsy on all the sherry that the children leave out for him (in Britain, it's traditional to give Santa a mince pie and a sherry to keep him going, and a carrot for his reindeer).
  • Ludicrous Gift Request: In the animated adaptation, Father Christmas is seen looking at his letters and asking, "A pony?! How am I gonna fit that on a sledge?!".
  • No Casinos Were Harmed: When Father Christmas goes to Las Vegas, he stays at Nero's Palace Hotel and Casino.
  • Potty Emergency: As part of his overindulgence in France, Father Christmas ends up dashing to the gents every five minutes until sunrise.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: A very rare example in the work of Raymond Briggs is the Nero's Palace car park attendant, who doesn't seem to see anything weird in the fact that an old guy with a big white beard left him a bunch of reindeer to look after. Father Christmas tips him lavishly, thanks him and wishes him the "best of luck". Well, it is Vegas...
  • Working-Class Hero: Briggs states that he saw parallels between Father Christmas and his father who was a milkman (and yes he is the milkman who Father Christmas meets near the end of his run).


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