ByMolly DowrickTrainee Reporter
A Plymouth mum says she has been ridiculed online for calling Santa ‘Father Christmas’ – as the name isn’t gender neutral.
The local mum says she was ‘shamed’ on a group on social media for discussing a children’s Christmas book and talking about ‘Father Christmas’ as ‘Santa is now seen as gender neutral’ and is many parents’ preferred name for the jolly character in the red suit.
The unnamed parent, who has a young child, says she has been left feeling ‘on edge’ since the comments picked on her and doesn’t want to offend anybody if saying ‘Father Christmas’ is ‘hurtful’ to someone.
Now, hundreds of parents have taken to social media to share their views on the gender-neutral Santa Claus debate.
The mum said: “I’ve just been shamed [on a Facebook group] for using the name ‘Father Christmas’ and [told] that ‘Santa’ is now seen as gender neutral.
“I was only referring to the book below [‘Father Christmas’ by Raymond Briggs] but it’s left me a little confused/on edge about what we are aloud [sic] to say.
“I have a small child and don’t really want to raise him saying ‘Father Christmas’ if it’s hurtful to some.”
While Brits typically say ‘Father Christmas,’ Americans and those living in the USA usually say ‘Santa Claus,’ – but the question of whether the jolly man should have a gender-neutral name seems to be a new debate this year.
Certainly the most famous man in the world has lots of different names.
While ‘Santa/Santa Claus’ and ‘Father Christmas’ are arguably the most common, ‘Saint Nick/Saint Nicholas’ is the preferred name for many families on both sides of the Atlantic.
And in Europe, the jolly man has various different names.
In France, the name for the man in the red suit is ‘Pere Noel’, similar to Italy’s ‘Babbo Natale’ which both translate to ‘Father Christmas’.
In Germany the typical name used is ‘Weihnachtsmann’ (Christmas Man) and in Hungary and Poland it’s ‘Mikulas’ and ‘Mikolaj’ respectively – both translating as [St] Nicholas.
In Russia, the name ‘Ded Moroz’ translates as ‘Grandfather Frost’.
Local parents are divided.
One mum said: “Santa is so American, Father Christmas here and will always be Father Christmas.”
“It’s always a man,” she added.
One dad agreed, he said: “It is Father Christmas, we are English not American! This gender neutral stuff is way out of hand.”