Father Time is a mythical figure who is usually depicted as an elderly bearded man, somewhat worse for wear, dressed in a robe, carrying a scythe and an hourglass or other timekeeping device (which represents time's constant one-way movement, and more generally and abstractly, entropy). This image derives from several sources, including the Grim Reaper and Chronos, the Greek god Lord of time in Greek mythology. Around New Year's Eve, many editorial cartoons use the convenient trope of Father Time as the personification of the previous year (or "the Old Year") who typically "hands over" the duties of time to the equally allegorical Baby New Year (or "the New Year") who otherwise characterizes the preceding year.
Appearances in Christmas specials
Rudolph's Shiny New Year
In Rudolph's Shiny New Year, Father Time appears as the keeper of the passage of time, who lives in a castle located directly below a bright and shining star in the northern skies. Visitors to the castle are required to trek across the Sands of Time, such as was the case for Rudolph, who was aided in this effort by General Ticker and The Great Quarter Past Five, two of Father Time's faithful troops.
One of Father Time's duties is to oversee the ending of the old year, and the crowning of the new year every December 31st. An old friend of Santa Claus, he calls upon the younger man to provide assistance when Happy, the Baby New Year, has gone missing. Unable to search for him himself, he sends Rudolph, who has just come back from an entire night of journeying around the entire world, out to find the wandering Happy.
Father Time also serves as the narrator of the story, and relates the events to the audience as well as the history of time in song to Rudolph.
Father Time's original Animagic figure now resides in a private collection gallery.
The version of Father Time from the Warner Bros. animated series Histeria! appeared in the show's Christmas-themed sketch, "The Banks of the Delaware River" (featured in the episode "The American Revolution - Part I"). He appears dressed as a Salvation Army Santa Claus, accompanied by Big Fat Baby (the show's version of the Baby New Year), Loud Kiddington, and Fetch. Over the course of the sketch, Father Time provides part of the narration for a poem, set to the tune of The Night Before Christmas, about how George Washington crossed the Delaware River on December 24, 1776.