A mother from Plymouth, England, says she was scolded online for daring to mention "Father Christmas," and informed that Santa Claus "is now seen as gender-neutral."
What are the details?
The Plymouth Herald reported on the alleged incident last week, and quoted the unnamed mother as telling them, "I've just been shamed [on a Facebook group] for using the name 'Father Christmas' and [told] that 'Santa' is now seen as gender neutral. I was only referring to the book below ['Father Christmas' by Raymond Briggs] but it's left me a little confused/on edge about what we are aloud [sic] to say."
The mother added, "I have a small child and don't really want to raise him saying 'Father Christmas' if it's hurtful to some."
The original message stream on Facebook has not been disclosed, but as other media outlets have picked up the story, debate over the incident has gained momentum online.
Fox News reported that one user reacted by saying of Santa, "Seriously! He's a guy, quite clearly a guy. I would have bitten back by calling him St. Nicholas to be honest. The clue's in the name, Nicholas not Nicola."
Another wrote, "Glad my kids grew up knowing Father Christmas is based on St. Nick...a man! All for personal identities and encourage it but come on! How messed up is this world we live in?"
There was at least one person — out of the hundreds that reportedly weighed in — who agreed on ditching the name "Father Christmas," which is the common name for Santa in Great Britain. "I must be the only one who hates 'Father Christmas,'" the anonymous user wrote, "I much prefer 'Santa/Santa Claus,' plus it's easier for littles to say."
If reporting on the debate is accurate, it appears the name "Father Christmas" is safe for continued use across the pond — at least for now.
According to UNILAD, there has been a push in the U.K. to rename "Father Christmas" as "Person Christmas," in recent years.