Santas Sacked: Kids Gutted
By our woman who is no stranger to sitting on old men's laps, Miranda S Givings
|In response to howls of protest from anxious parents that sitting on an old man's knee may cause an epidemic of kiddie-fiddling on our high streets, department stores across the UK have given Santa the sack this Christmas
"We simply daren't take the risk," explained
one anonymous Store manager, who took time out from moving a display
of panty-liners to the top shelf to talk to Utterpants.
"Last year two mothers complained that their boys had felt something
hard between their legs while they were sitting on Santa's knee. We
avoided going to court by the skin of our teeth."
"This is political correctness gone mad," shouted one disgruntled 'Santa' we encountered outside his local jobcentre, who along with 974 other jolly old men in beards and furry hats, will be looking for alternative employment this year. "Next they'll be banning parents taking snaps of their kids at the School Nativity Play in case the pictures end up on porn sites on that Internet thing. I mean what sort of sicko gets turned on by looking at some snotty little brat riding a donkey with a tea towel on his head?"
A question we put to the Rev. Morris Bone (57), a charismatic, ex-pat
Ameriacn Tele-Evangelist, whose 'Keep Satan out of our Kids Grottos'
campaign, has fuelled the anti-Santa hysteria sweeping Britain's
His anger was denounced as 'rabid anti-Christmas bigotry' by Stan Shufflebotham
(59), who has presided over Harrod's Santa's Grotto every Christmas
for the past twenty-seven years. "Who's going to give me another
job at my time of life?" he asked, wiping away a tear from his
magnificent, snowy beard. "If it wasn't for the kindness of Mr
Al Fayad I'd be on the dole with the rest of my profession. As it is
I've had to lay off eight elves and turn away kids under sixteen."
But many mothers take a very different view as we discovered when we spoke to Mrs Sandra Duckworth. "When the girls were small we once spent two bloody hours queuing in a Leeds department store to see Father Christmas. When our turn finally came I was gobsmacked to see Santa was a drunken old git with a filthy beard and damp stains on his trousers," reminisced the forty-two-year-old mother of three bitterly. "We felt used and abused—but the girls seemed to enjoy it. Susie was so excited she wet her knickers. We had the Devil's own job prising her off Santa's knee. Then she kept nagging me to buy her a Harry Potter broom. 'Oh look mum—they vibrate!' So of course we had to buy her one and then her older sister wanted one too, only it had to be the five speed model with the rotating handle. We paid a bloody fortune for those toys and do you know—I never saw either of the girls play with them in front of my husband or I. What a bloody rip-off! The sooner shops get rid of Santas the better."
Critics have suggested that sacking Santas is just a cynical smokescreen
to enable greedy retailers to fleece a few extra pounds from shopaholic
punters. We put this point to John Finch, the retail director of Debenhams,
who were the first chain to boot Santa out of their 425 department stores.
But what does the man in the street think about axing a tradition that goes back thousands of years and fuels an orgy of consumer spending that millions of kids look forward to every year, simply to assuage the pedo paranoia gripping the nation?
"Bloody madness!" bristled one retailer we spoke to who relies
upon the appearance of Santa at the department store opposite his Adult
Shop to draw in extra punters at Christmas. A view shared by most of
If you are a British Department store it seems you can.
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