Father Christmas


Father Christmas

by Raymond Briggs

Hamish Hamilton, 1973

28 pp.

Age: 5+

Interests: Christmas, Santa Claus, winter, comic books/graphic novels

Also by this author: Father Christmas Goes on Holiday, The Snowman, The Mother Goose Treasury, Ug: Boy Genius of the Stone Age and his Search for Soft Trousers

An account of Father Christmas’ busiest day, from waking until bedtime. Not the cheerful Santa we’re used to, this Father Christmas grumbles his way through the miserable weather and his annual duties. He likes nothing better than to put his feet up in front of the fire with a nice glass of brandy, and is not content until all the presents are delivered and he’s back at home.

A nearly-wordless book, in a graphic novel/comic book style. This is perfect for new readers to flip through on their own. There are just a few talk bubbles to read, mostly the old man muttering to himself. The scenes are homey, with lots of details to pore over. I particularly liked the cutaway houses allowing us to see the children asleep while Santa goes about his deliveries. And when he’s back at home we see him puttering about – feeding the deer, making tea, filling his hot water bottle, reading vacation brochures… as well as opening up the not-so-great presents from his relatives.

A wonderfully human portrait of Father Christmas, complete with moods and foibles. Not for those who would be disappointed in a frowning, slightly cranky Santa. (He even resorts to curses during a blizzard – curses of the “%#&*” variety of course.) From taking a tea break on a snowy rooftop to making his last delivery to Buckingham Palace to his last cup of cocoa at bedtime, this is a really delightful take on the famous Mr. Claus. (We even see him sitting on the toilet!)

A perfect companion piece to Briggs’ The Snowman, another beloved picture book about the season. Highly recommended, absolutely delightful.

Unfortunately, however, I could not locate Father Christmas new on amazon, not sure if it’s in print anymore…

Trivia: I read somewhere that the milkman in this panel is a cameo performance from Briggs’ father Ernest:

The very last panel:


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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.
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