Saturday, December 6, 2014

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - December 6 - Santa Claus

Children climbing on Santa's flatbed truck to collect presents
Alex and Deborah at NCDC Christmas Party c1968
Thomas MacEntee says:
Today is the Feast of Saint Nicholas and the origin of Santa Claus. What are your memories of Santa Claus and waiting for him to come at Christmas? What does Santa mean to you today and how do you pass along that meaning to family and to others?
Ah the excitement of Christmas!  Waiting for Santa.  Wishing you could go to sleep but being too excited to do so.  

The photo above is of me and my friend Deborah at the NCDC Christmas party in Canberra in about 1968.  Our fathers worked for the NCDC at the time - now called the National Capital Authority.  I'm the one with my back to the camera on the left.  My hair is in a pony tail and I am wearing long sleeved viyella print dress.  Deborah is just behind me with her hair in pigtails facing the camera and looking at our parent's friend Joan and baby Tamara, I think.

The best Christmases were when Deborah and her family would come to stay. We kids got to camp in the garage on fold up beds.  We would put out milk and some mince pies for Santa and a bowl of water and some carrots for the reindeers.

I'm sure I went to see Father Christmas every year at David Jones or some other department store.  I have vague memories of forgetting to ask for what I really wanted.  I think I wrote letters to him too occasionally.  

My family preferred to call him Father Christmas rather than Santa Claus.  Is that an English thing?  When I search Trove for incidences of the phrase "Father Christmas" in comparison to "Santa Claus" in newspapers/magazines, Santa Claus wins hands-down.  Father Christmas, as a phrase, was most prevalent between 1920-1940.  

I love this photo I found of Santa on Flickr at Canberra Airport circa 1929.  If you didn't see the car in the background, I reckon you would think it was taken today, don't you?  Some things never change.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at

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