In England, Father Christmas is the personification of Christmas, in the same way as Santa Claus is in the United States. Although the characters are now synonymous, historically Father Christmas and Santa Claus have separate entities, stemming from unrelated traditions.
First written about in Tudor England and pre-dating the first recording of Santa Claus, Father Christmas was a jolly, well-nourished man who typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, bringing peace, joy, good food and wine and revelry. In time, the tradition merged with America's Santa Claus with both riding in a reindeer-pulled sleigh carrying a sackful of toys that lands on the roofs of houses that contain good children. The mythical, white bearded Santa/Father Christmas then enters the properties through their chimneys clutching gifts for the well-behaved little ones inside.
A similar figure with the same name (in translation) exists in many other countries, including Canada and France (Père Noël), Spain (Papá Noel, Padre Noel) and almost all Hispanic South America (Papá Noel). (Source The Encyclopedia of Trivia