Why Father Christmas Uses The Chimney20 December 2016

Ever wondered why he comes down the chimney instead of using the door?


Ever wondered why Father Christmas comes down the chimney on Christmas eve, instead of going through the door?

All those mince pies don’t help with his waist-line, so you need to make sure your chimney is well-prepared for his Christmas Eve entrance…


The Easy Option

The simplest answer is that it’s easier and quicker. He parks the sleigh on top of all the roofs to keep it out of harm’s way – then just slides down the chimney with his sack of pressies.

Imagine the inconvenience of having to get off the roof loaded up with gifts, delve into his pocket to find the special key that opens any door, one-handedly insert it into the lock while holding the sack with the other hand, make sure he doesn’t let the door bang before creeping on tiptoes to the main room. What a performance!

Add in Some Folklore

It’s certainly an easier option for Santa, but folklore also plays a part in this tradition. Going back to pre-Christmas pagan lore, hearths were thought to be homes of gods or spirits influential on the prosperity of the household, while fire was held in a sacred light. Because of this, gifts left on a hearth were symbolic of good will and prosperity.

Norse tradition sees Odin climbing down chimneys or smoke holes on the solstice, to mark the beginning of winter.

According to Italian folklore, on Epiphany eve (January 5), an old woman known as Befana (a gift-giving witch), delivers gifts to Italian children. Depicted as covered in soot, it is thought she makes her deliveries via the chimney breast. A chimney-based theme is starting to develop…

Enter Saint Nicholas

Father Christmas aka Santa Claus is thought to originate back to the real saint – Saint Nicholas – who was given his own feast day on December 6th. At around the same time Pope Julius I wanted to attach a date to Jesus’s birthday, and decided to use a date around the pagan winter solstice festival, so he came up with December 25.

Eventually St. Nicholas’s feast day became associated with December 25 and he took on the persona of the gift bearer for children.

This date then tied in with Odin’s visit down the chimney, plus the Befana’s in Italy, and slowly the story of Santa Claus coming down the chimney began to take hold.

The Night Before Christmas

However, it was probably the famous poem written in 1822 by Clement Moore that sealed the story of Father Christmas utilising the chimney. Originally entitled A Visit from St. Nicholas, it has grown in popularity under the title of The Night Before Christmas. The poem describes how Santa and his sleigh land on the roof, allowing Santa to drop down the chimney with his bounty of gifts.


Look After Your Roof and Chimney!

Of course, tales and folklore surrounding Santa are many and varied, but as the chimney does seem to be his entrance of choice, we urge you to make sure yours is in good condition, ready for the Big Day. Don’t forget that the sleigh will be parked on your roof; look out for any loose slates and get them fixed before Christmas Eve – after all, you don’t want Father Christmas to have an accident on YOUR roof, do you?


Have a Very Merry Christmas Everyone!


Posted in Roofing, News, Weather, Roof Cleaning, Roof Maintenance and tagged roofers, london roofing, safety, winter.
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