Santa vs. Father Frost

It might come as a surprise, but people in Russia do not celebrate Christmas on the 25th. Why? Partially, because of the Orthodox Church that sticks Christ’s birth to the 7th of January, according to the older (Julian) calendar. Partially, because of the Communists. Back in the days religion was prohibited, and people could hardly organise any public celebrations. However, we do have our share of the pie. New Year’s Eve is one of the most important nights of the year for Slavic people, and we happen to have our own  “chairman” of the night. His name is Father Frost, and he looks suspiciously similar to Santa, but he is still a different character.

Some think he is a clone of Santa. Others, that he is an evil winter god. There are also some rumours that he is a spy and works for KGB. What is known for sure is that he is smart, powerful and charming. To eliminate all the doubts, I have composed a short comparison table, which I humbly present to your attention. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you the main character of this winter – Father Frost.




Santa Claus

Father Frost


Official Residence

Real Name

Comes at






Typical clothing

Character traits

Marital status




Lapland (Finland)

St. Nicholas/ Sinterklaas

Christmas Eve


Can fly

Luge and flying

Secretly leaves under the tree.


Red suit with fur

Jolly and fun


Reindeers and elves

Used to be a Greek Christian bishop. Started his career after giving dowry to three poor sisters so they would be able to marry, and not become prostitutes.

Unknown forests

Veliky Ustyug (Russia)

Ded Moroz/Дед Мороз

New Year’s Eve

Atheist, former communist

Freezes people to death

Luge and skiing

Gives in-person at organized celebrations.


Blue or silver-white  robe

Strict and dominant


Snow maiden, which also happens to be his granddaughter

Used to be a winter god ruling over frosts. Liked to freeze people and kidnap children, taking them away in his gigantic sack. Parents were sending him presents in return for their children. Saw the competition in Santa and decided to change the image.

Happy New Year everyone! 🙂



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11 Responses to “Santa vs. Father Frost”
  1. wow that was interesting.. thanks! 🙂

  2. jamestillich says:

    Fascinating, answers all my questions about the difference between Santa and Father Frost. Much appreciated:

  3. vilks12 says:

    Agree with Lev ! And was a good idea to create such a table and to bring here ! 🙂

  4. Thank you guys! 🙂
    I really like your picture James, it is very winter-like.

  5. Kristel Kruijsen says:

    Dear Anna,
    Santa Claus may originate from the Netherlands, but in the Netherlands Sinterklaas comes 6 December, or the night before. Christmas Eve is the main feast with presents in Germany: Heiligabend. Then the Weinachtsmann (north)or Christkind (south) comes. The last decades in the Netherlands more and more people celebrate Christmas with presents on 25 December, but for the children Sinterklaas remains the most important for the children. We have even a daily Santa Claus news program on TV from the day Santa Claus arrives by boat in the Netherlands 3 weeks earlier and which is also broadcasted by national television!

    • Thank you Kristel,

      I didn’t know it. It is a very valuable addition to the post. 🙂


    • Arina says:

      Dear Kristel, I don’t understand why you didn’t tell Anna that Sinterklaas en Santa Claus are two different personages and they have nothing to do with each other! Sinterklaas is a typical personage for the Netherlands and Belgium. He leaves the countries and presents for children on December 5th and only afterwards comes the rat race for the X-mes shopping plus “ ho-ho-ho” ))))

  6. Elena says:

    This is a very informative and fun post )) I would like to add/clarify that Father Frost is actually Grandfather Frost (that’s why he has a granddaughter Snegurochka or Show Maiden). His prototype is St. Nicholas (Nikolaj).

  7. nina platt says:

    Christmas is January 7th. Jesus was born on the 6th. A little Orthodox quibble, he doesn’t become Christ until He is Risen on Easter. Confusing, of course. It’s religion.

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