Since the Victorian era, Father Christmas has gradually merged with the pre-modern gift giver St Nicholas (Dutch Sinterklaas, hence Santa Claus) and associated folklore. Nowadays he is often called Santa Claus but also often referred to in Britain as Father Christmas: the two names are synonyms. In Europe, Father Christmas/Santa Claus is often said to reside in the mountains of Korvatunturi in Lapland Province, Finland.
Father Christmas dates back at least as far as the 17th century in Britain, and pictures of him survive from that era, portraying him as a well-nourished bearded man dressed in a long green fur-lined robe. A writer in “Time’s Telescope” (1822) states that in Yorkshire at eight o’clock on Christmas Eve the bells greet “Old Father Christmas” with a merry peal, the children parade the streets with drums, trumpets, bells, (or in their absence, with the poker and shovel, taken from their humble cottage fire), the yule candle is lighted, and; “High on the cheerful fire. Is blazing seen th’ enormous Christmas brand.” Father Christmas typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, and was reflected as the “Ghost of Christmas Present” in the Charles Dickens‘s classic A Christmas Carol (1843), a great genial man in a green coat lined with fur, who takes Ebenezer Scrooge through the bustling streets of London on Christmas morning, sprinkling the essence of Christmas onto the happy populace.