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Is the name Father Christmas used in the US or is it mainly Santa Claus (and Santa)?

Does Father Christmas sound unusual or out of place if it was used in the US? Would it be laughed at?

As an aside, my feeling is Father Christmas was the main term used in the UK but Santa Claus has become more popular and is now just as acceptable.

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Sounds outdated to me. I'd expect it on Garrison Keeler. –  tylerharms Dec 19 '13 at 14:51

3 Answers 3

As this ngram shows, the term has very little usage in US print as compared to Santa Claus. There is a slight rise in usage over the years, but a quick scan of the listed works often refer to historic works or the British tradition.

Most US listeners would probably understand a reference to Father Christmas, but most would probably consider it a bit archaic, stilted or reference to a foreign tradition.

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If corpus evidence is anything to go by, then Santa Claus is more popular than Father Christmas in the US, and Father Christmas is more popular than Santa Claus in the UK, but by a very much smaller degree. The COCA shows Santa Claus as being 27 times more frequent than Father Christmas, whereas the BNC shows Father Christmas as being just under twice as frequent as Santa Claus.

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As an American, I've only ever heard the name "Father Christmas" from UK-based sources, most notably in the eponymous Kinks' song.

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