Posted by: Morgan | December 22, 2009


I would suspect that many parents have a certain important conversation, at least once, on how they are choosing to parent through the Christmas season. Do they allow their kids to believe in Santa and, if so, for how long and to what degree? Do they ignore the reality of Santa, nodding to him slightly with a smile throughout the month of December, and focus more on family and Jesus? Do they completely push away cultural trimmings of a pagan holiday and decide to only celebrate Jesus’ birthday away from the materialism? Some parents may not think about it and just go with the flow of a mainstream culture, letting their kids lead what they believe. Caleb and I answered these questions by deciding to celebrate Hogswatch.

Hogswatch is a special day in the year when the Hogfather comes on his sleigh pulled by six great warthogs to bring gifts to all the children of the world. In return, the children of the world leave him sherry and his warthogs turnips, hoping he’ll fill their stockings with wonderful goodies. He’s fairly jolly, with a round “ho ho ho” called out occasionally, and close enough in appearance and disposition to Saint Nick that most of you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, aside from his obvious pig’s snout and tusks (he is the Hogfather, afterall).

I must jump in quickly and be sure to attribute this celebration to its correct owner, as we definitely were not the creative minds behind it. Terry Pratchett, the beloved (by us, at least) author of the Discworld series, is British and an amazing writer. Within the crazy and wonderful flat world that sits atop four gigantic elephants, that in turn stand upon the great space turtle, Atuin, as he slowly “swims” through space, the Hogfather is a reality that visits once a year. When people stop believing in the Hogfather and he is forced to stop exsisting, Death must come and act as Hogfather until the children of the world believe again and the Hogfather can return….but I’m getting beside the point.
Last Christmas, while I was very much pregnant with our first baby, I brought up the conversation with Caleb. As we were already naming our daughter after a character in one of Pratchett’s books (her second middle name, that is), we wound around to Hogswatch fairly quickly. We decided that Hogswatch would fall on December 24th every year and that we would no longer give Christmas gifts, we’d have Hogswatch gifts. This all may seem counterintuitive to celebrating Jesus’ birth as a Christian, but we’re not replacing Christmas, just all the trimmings.
So on December 23rd our children will gather turnips and “sherry” (grape juice most likely) and go to bed waiting for the “Hogfather” to arrive. We won’t be concealing the fact that he’s fictional, but that is helped even more by the fact that no one else in the world (that we know of) believes in the Hogfather, so there should be no confusion for our children while they are out and about during the year. On December 24th our children will wake up to presents under the tree, a fun and festive breakfast, stockings, and some other Hogswatch traditions we’re still thinking up (but that will definitely include some sort of treasure hunt). We’ll go to bed that night and wake up on Christmas, Jesus’ birthday. The day will start with breakfast and reading the Christmas story as a family. For the remainder of Christmas day we’ll focus on family, visiting, playing games together and celebrating Jesus.

And that is Hogswatch, my friends. Photos and finalized traditions to come once we’ve actually been through our first.



  1. Not gonna lie, Morgan…that’s pretty weird. 😛

    But we can talk about it in person this weekend, after you’ve celebrated your first “Hogswatch.”

  2. It’s not any weirder than anything else we do… 😛 And it solves the problem of mixing Jesus with materialistic Christmas.

  3. I believe in the Hogfather, Morgan! I watch the movie every year. I think Death is one of my favorite Terry Pratchett….characters. I agree, way more fun and original than Santa!

  4. Hi Morgan,
    I hope you had a brilliant Hogswatch, but just a warning to be careful in future.
    In your posting you mention that you are the only people in the world who believe in the Hogfather and that you will admit he is fictional.

    Talk like this can and probably will consign the Hogfather to folklore instead of his anphromorphic reality.

    Take care and have fun.

    PS if you are anywhere near Wincanton, Somerset, England the last weekend in November, come and join us fellow believers.

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