Before there was Santa Claus . . . there was Father Christmas.
Toymaker Nicholas gets a mission from the angel Gabriel—defend and protect the neglected village children. He gives them coins and toys, sings songs, and tells tales of magical flying reindeer, much to the chagrin of the disgruntled village priest who insists Nicholas give his money to the church. When Nicholas gives a poor man with three daughters coins for their dowries, they name him “Father Christmas.” The priest cannot prove Nicholas is behind all the gifts that should be going to his church, until he catches Nicholas dropping purses down chimneys. He cancels Christmas Mass and orders all gifts returned to the church. Seemingly defeated, Nicholas gets another visit from Gabriel, who assures him the local priest will soon be arrested and insists Nicholas vow to protect the children. He reluctantly agrees. The priest tricks the unmarried women and children to gather in the monastery, holds them hostage, and insists Nicholas pay for their release. Nicholas jumps down the chimney to save them, and the priest is arrested. Heroic Nicholas is put in charge of the church, and as Father Christmas, ensures children are never neglected and unmarried daughters always have dowries.
In a magical, golden olde world, toymaker Nicholas is visited by the angel Gabriel, who announces that God is sending the middle-aged childless Nicholas to defend and protect the neglected children of the village. Nicholas doubts he can live up to such a high calling but grabs his purse and heads into the night. At each home he secretly puts coins in the children’s shoes sitting in doors and windows. The next morning, all the children have money for bread, meat, and even candy. Nicholas gives toys, sits on the cathedral steps singing songs, and tells tales of magical flying reindeer. The disgruntled village priest insists Nicholas give his money to the church and stop making up lies.
When Nicholas gives a poor man with three daughters coins for their dowries, they name him “Father Christmas.” Although the priest suspects Nicholas is behind the gifts that should be going to his church, he cannot prove it. But on Christmas Eve he catches Nicholas dropping purses down chimneys. The priest cancels Christmas Mass and orders people to return their gifts to the church, proclaiming that hungry children and unmarried women are better off living at the monastery than taking gifts from the toymaker Nicholas. Nicholas goes home in defeat, but that night there’s another visit from the angel Gabriel, who says the local priest will soon be arrested. Gabriel insists that Nicholas vow to protect the children and he reluctantly agrees.
Despite the irate priest’s threats, Nicholas continues to gift the village children and daughters. The priest tricks the unmarried women and children to gather in the monastery. He holds them hostage and insists Nicholas pay the church for their release. Nicholas jumps down the monastery chimney to save them and the priest is arrested. As hero of the village, Nicholas is put in charge of the church. Father Christmas makes sure children are never neglected, and unmarried daughters always have dowries.
Copyright 2022 Jennifer Waters