Traditionally Father Christmas and his helpers spend all year getting ready for their one big night-Christmas Eve. On that night Father Christmas is believed to climb on a sleigh led by reindeer. The reindeer have the ability to fly up in the sky and they carry Father Christmas and his sleigh over the rooftops. In homes throughout the western world, Christmas is a time for family, for giving presents and having fun. St Nicholas began the custom of leaving presents for people and ever since, children have waited and tried to keep awake on Christmas Eve-they want to catch Santa Claus, or Father Christmas coming down their chimney and filling their stockings with presents. Getting a visit from Father Christmas and leaving a drink and a mince pie for him is part of the magic of childhood in many homes. But one Father Christmas cannot visit eveyone抯 house. So, every year, in houses all over America, men will be gearing themselves up to go shopping for Father Christmas costumes-or their wives will construct something good enough. They will put on a false beard and creep into children抯 rooms to deliver presents. Father Christmas costumes are a popular part of Christmas.
It is not just individual dads who need Father Christmas Costumes at Christmas, there are a lot of men who will dress up in a Father Christmas costume and visit sick children in hospital. These Father Christmases put on their costumes and load up their sack with presents for each child. On Christmas morning Father Christmas will go round the hospital beds having a word with the children and giving them their presents. Most of the men who play this part will do so quite happily-talking about their sleighs and their reindeer and giving a ho ho to everyone they meet; as they go about their business. Another place that you will find Father Christmas, and this is before Christmas Eve, is visiting children in schools. Many grade schools will arrange for Father Christmas to come and visit the younger children at school Christmas parties.
This usually means that one of the teachers or one of the parents will dress in a Father Christmas costume and play the part.
Nowadays it is common to see Father Christmas visiting every major department store in the country. A man dressed in his Father Christmas costume, along with other people dressed as elves and dwarves, will be employed by these stores to entertain children-and hopefully encourage their families to look around the store and buy things. The children can sit on Father Christmas?knee, talk to him for a little while and usually receive a Christmas present. Often the children will give him a long list of the things that they hope he will bring them on Christmas Eve.