Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Santa" doesn't come to our house. Father Christmas is very welcome though!

Here's a little rant. Apologies in advance.

With every passing year as I get older and more crotchety, my blood boils a little as our traditions are eroded and transplanted by those of the US.

You must be told that I'm not in any way anti-US, far from it. It is just that our culture is constantly bombarded by the pop culture of the US, through film, TV, internet and we lose a bit of our own in the process.

Astrid goes around saying, "that's how I roll", which, I must admit is so cute coming out of her 5 year old mouth that I let it be. There are however, no "Cookies" or "Trashcans" here (Sesame Street is highly censored for appropriate language) and we like our "U"s in our words too (colour, flavour, RANCOUR! Go away little red squiggly line!). We already have opportunistic teenagers "trick or treating" for Halloween (they get no "candy" here, just a lecture) and if marketers could figure out a way to do it, we'd be celebrating Thanksgiving and the 4th of July!

One of my pet hates at this time of year is the exponentially increasing use of "SANTA"...I'm sorry, but the jolly fat man has always previously been FATHER CHRISTMAS. We are (apologies to Traditional Owners) an English colony with "Australian" Christmas traditions following those of Mother England, even when these traditions are patently inappropriate like full roast Christmas lunches on 40C days.

We are also a multicultural society where all important traditions are welcomed and encouraged. We happily celebrate an amalgam of Swedish and Australian Christmas traditions ourselves. If you want to call him Jultomten, Babbo Natale, St Nicholas or Fatso that's just fine but our dominant culture traditionally calls him Father Christmas. The country's media and retail outlets should do the same!

The expat US population is absolutely free to call him Santa Claus, all 0.3% of them according to the 2006 census.

End of rant.

P.S. I do love you all, even if you do call him Santa, really..


  1. You see, I'm super ethnocentric, so I didn't even know that Australians call him "Father Christmas". I know exactly 2 Australians: you, and my internet friend Rose. She calls him Santa, but 1) she's originally from India, so she may not REALLY be Australian, and 2) she may just be humoring all of her internet friends.

    So, I learned something today. BTW, Father Christmas sounds WAY more dignified than Santa.

  2. I am now making a conscious effor to revert back to using Father Christmas as opposed to Santa because until you pointed it out I hadn't realised that I'd become quietly brainwashed!!! Even though I also like 'u's in my colours too and an 'mme' at the end of my programmes.
    Merry chrismas,
    p.s. I hope the kids have cooled down a bit the way that is not why I came home, just making sure to avoid the yicky freeway traffic! And to finish getting ready for my hot baked christmas dinner with plumb pudding and custard for desert (being australian australian- in a Brittish herritage kind of way) lucky it's only forcast to be 38*C!!!

  3. Oops Tara, I was worried that I might come across a little ango-supremacist with my rant. I'm sure your friend is as Australian as me!

    We're most of us not "really" Australian here (the Aboriginal people came here 40,000 years ago so they should probably call the shots for what we call the fat guy).

    I was born in Sweden and the Historian's family came on boats (some were probably convicts, although that's probably been hushed up).

    It's not so much a nostalgia for our British past but more an annoyance at the insidious Americanisation of our country. As Dette says people get slowly brainwashed until they forget that we used to call him something different. In fact the Historian's mum told me with a straight face that they had "always" called him Santa...doubtful, I'd say...they are closer to their English roots than most.

  4. Anki, LOVE your post. Though we talk about/have a visit from Santa, the CHOICE of doing that or not was taken from us as parents through the daycare our son went to when he was very young. My husband recycled some of my daughter's kindergarten "homework" this AM because it was to color a scene with baby Jesus. Nice separation of church & state, no? The US is supposed to be multi-cultural as well. We just don't do such a good job of demonstrating that through popular press.

  5. Oh Lindsey, that's so infuriating isn't it?

    Our last (state) school used to get all the children to say a school creed (like little drones) at every assembly. It included the line, "love of God"...the first time I heard it I actually audibly sucked in breath like I'd been punched in the stomach! The woman next to me noticed and said, "yes, I know shocking isn't it?"
    Our new (also government) school doesn't do anything of the sort.

  6. Well said. Even though it's yonks after Christmas, I just had to post and say I couldn't agree with you more. Not just about the "Santa" thing, though. About the way the Australian sense of humour is being eroded by bad American films (I review films for a newspaper, and had to watch The Dilemma last night, which was one of the most infuriatingly dull, product-placement-laden flicks I've ever seen). Thoughtful humour has been replaced by repetitive, base jibes delivered via million-mile-an-hour-Dawson's-Creek-style conversations. I'm tired of self-help-y drivel, soap-opera-y melodramatics. Give me Paul Mercurio spinning 'round in a singlet in front of a mirror with some blonde woman screaming, "Daaaaaaaarl!" in the background, and I'll be happy!

  7. Hi Lauren! I went to school with Paul Mercurio!(that deserves more of these !!!!)

    So true about the humour and lead you by the nose narratives. Our sense of humour used to be more left-of-centre, incisive and subtle.

    So nice to hear from you. I'm off to read your blog now.