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1001 Stories Collection

Father Christmas

1001 Father Christmas
Added on 06th August 2020

Author and Illustrator Raymond Briggs
First published 1973
Publisher Hamish Hamilton

Find out what Father Christmas' busiest day is really like in this beautifully drawn comic strip style story.

Story

Raymond Briggs’ much-loved graphic novel follows Father Christmas as he grumbles his way through the busiest day of his year.

December 24th begins early for this hard-working delivery man as he braves the cold to harness the reindeer and load his sleigh. We follow him around the world as he battles through storms and rain, fog and ‘bloomin’ snow, squeezes down chimneys and avoids TV aerials to bring presents to sleeping children. Eventually his work is done and he heads wearily home to open his own presents, eat his Christmas dinner and dream of summer.

Why we chose it

This funny and irreverent comic tale has become a Christmas classic. Father Christmas is a great character - lovable and very human, a down-to-earth working man with a grumpy exterior that hides a kind heart, not unlike his creator. Laid out as a comic strip with speech bubbles, Father Christmas is a widely admired example of visual storytelling. It won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal and in 2005 was voted one of the top ten winners from the Medal’s first 50 years. The beautiful illustrations are full of witty touches and nostalgic details from houses Briggs’ grew up in.

Where it came from

The son of Ernest, a milkman, and Ethel, a former lady's maid, Briggs loved cartoons from an early age and went to art school. After trying painting, he became an illustrator, creating iconic characters including Fungus the Bogeyman and the Snowman, and winning numerous awards.

As a tribute to Briggs’ father, who was part of the inspiration for this story, Father Christmas exchanges a few words with a milkman on the way home.

Where it went next

Father Christmas has been adapted as a stage show, and with its sequel, Father Christmas Goes on Holiday, animated as a 25-minute film.

Associated stories

Briggs’ other graphic novels for children include Father Christmas Goes on Holiday, Fungus the Bogeyman, The Snowman, Ethel & Ernest and When the Wind Blows.

In the museum

Find more about Raymond Briggs in The Enchanted Library.

Added on 06th August 2020

Author and Illustrator Raymond Briggs
First published 1973
Publisher Hamish Hamilton