The Elizabethans didn’t know the red-robed old man that we are now familiar with, but Christmas was certainly personified. The first reference to Christmas as a person is in the 15th century carol of Sir Christëmas:
Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell.
Who is there that singeth so
Nowell, nowell, nowell?
I am here, Sir Christëmas.
Welcome, my lord Sir Christëmas,
Welcome to us all, both more and less.
Lyrics of the 15th century carol, Sir Christëmas
Ben Jonson’s “Christmas his Masque” written in 1616 for King James, describes Christmas (now definitely a father, with 10 children) as “attir’d in round Hose, long Stockings, a close Doublet, a high crownd Hat with a Broach, a long thin beard, a Truncheon, little Ruffes, white Shoes, his Scarffes, and Garters tyed crosse, and his Drum beaten before him.
Ben Jonson’s 10 children of Christmas:
Post and Paire
In the anonymous ‘Hue and Cry after Christmas’, he is described as “an old, old, very old, grey-bearded gentleman called Christmas, who was wont to be a verie familiar ghest, and visite all sorts of people both pore and rich, and used to appeare in glittering gold, silk, and silver in the Court, and had ringing, feasts, and jollitie in all places, both in the citie and countrie, for his coming”.
Father Christmas has many different names in different countries around the world. Can you find all these names for Father Christmas in the grid?