Father Christmas (1991)

father christmas dvd cover
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great looking special

Not up to the level of The Snowman

TV Show Info

TV Show Name:  Father Christmas

Studio:  Blooming Productions/TVC London/Channel 4 Television Corporation

Genre(s):  Animated/Seasonal

Release Date(s):  December 24, 1991

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

father christmas las vegas santa claus swimming

Santa’s gotta chill sometime

Father Christmas lives a tough life.  With an intense twenty-four hour job that everyone is counting on, Father Christmas looks to live up his days off…while avoiding the stares of children seeing through his identity.  Christmas however is something that cannot be stopped and Santa has to be prepped for another twenty-four hour of gifts and deliveries to all the children of the world.  Santa might get cranky, but he always brings the joy.

Directed by Dave Unwin, Father Christmas is an animated holiday special.  Originally airing on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve in 1991 in the United Kingdom, the story is based on Raymond Briggs’ book Father Christmas (1973) and Father Christmas Goes on Holiday (1975).  It received positive reviews and has become a holiday classic.

father christmas letters santa claus

Father Christmas’s work is never done

The Snowman was pretty popular, even in the United States.  With its popularity, the works of Raymond Briggs also received a lot of attention.  While I didn’t grow up with Father Christmas, it is a solid holiday Christmas special.

The story is the type of stories a younger kid will like because it is a bit edgier than typical Christmas cartoon.  Santa Claus, Father Christmas, St. Nick or whatever you call him is a bit of a grump and also lives up large when he’s not working.  He overdoes everything (including drinking) and there is some bodily functions humor as a result.  While that might not be 100% endearing to adults, kids actually like that type of thing.

The story is a bit fragmented since it is based on two different short stories.  It is divided rather evenly into “Santa’s Vacation” and “Christmas Eve” essentially.  While it is short, it does feel like it doesn’t entirely flow and is simply a bunch of shorts strung together.  It doesn’t have the heart of The Snowman, but it does have style.

father christmas the snowman raymond briggs

Either of you got some booze?

Briggs’ style is part of the reason it is worth checking out.  Not only does he really imbibe all aspects of Santa Claus, but he makes him his own character at the same time.  The story also exists in “The Snowman” Universe and features a crossover moment with the popular holiday classic (recreating a moment in that special).

Father Christmas is short and to the point.  When combined with The Snowman (and later The Snowman and the Snowdog), the three specials are a nice and different treat.  Tonally the special is the most different of the three but a welcomed break if you are watching them all together.  Father Christmas is a fun and less common special to mix into you holiday viewing…and have a Bloomin’ Christmas!

Related Links:

The Snowman (1982)

The Snowman and the Snowdog (2012)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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