In Sydney, Australia, the politically correct crowd decided that Santa's traditional laugh of 'Ho Ho Ho' was politically incorrect and potentially insulting, as well as possibly scary and therefore, 'Ha Ha Ha' would be used instead. Thankfully, the Santas are rebelling, and the P.C. crowd seems to be fighting a losing battle.
He is an unlikely revolutionary but this Christmas, Santa is a rebel with a claus.
He is having the last laugh on political correctness - and it's a great big fat belly laugh.
Santas across Sydney are rebelling against attempts to ban their traditional greeting of "ho, ho, ho" in favour of "ha, ha, ha".
Recruitment firm Westaff - which supplies hundreds of Santas across the country - has told its trainees that the "ho ho ho" phrase could frighten children and could even be derogatory to women.
Two Santa hopefuls reportedly quit the course because of the hullabaloo of the ho, ho, ho.
One would-be Santa has told The Daily Telegraph he was taught not to use "ho, ho, ho" because it was too close to the American slang for prostitute. He also quit.
"Gimme a break," Julie Gale, who runs the campaign against sexualising children called Kids Free 2B Kids, said. "We are talking about little kids who do not understand that "ho, ho, ho" has any other connotation and nor should they. Leave Santa alone."
Australian Childhood Foundation chief executive officer Dr Joe Tucci said it was the latest example of political correctness gone mad.
"There is no stronger tradition for children than Santa's ho, ho, ho," Dr Tucci said.
Yesterday department stores David Jones and Myers and the Westfield shopping centre chain moved to reassure children, and their parents, that Santa and his customary greeting was part of Christmas's present as well as Christmas's past.
A David Jones spokeswoman said they had discussed the situation with Westaff and their Santas would not besilenced.
"Senior management have assured us that Santas provided to David Jones have not been censored in any way," the spokeswoman said.
At Myer, where Westaff also train the fat men in red suit, Santa could not stop laughing about the suggestion.
"Myer has not directed our Santas to refrain from using 'ho, ho, ho' and believe the expression is an important Christmas tradition," a spokesman for Myer said.
Westfield's Santas are recruited and trained by RegProm Marketing and they will be "ho, ho, ho-ing" a Westfield spokeswoman said. "Westfield Santas are known for their friendly and welcoming nature and know how to deliver a real festive 'ho, ho, ho'."
Westaff's national Santa co-ordinator Sari Hegarty wrote to stores explaining the company's position.
"Westaff has been a provider of quality caring Santas for over 40 years," Ms Hegarty wrote in an email. "Part of our advice to our Santas is that they should be mindful of children having their first Santa experience. We ask our Santas to try techniques such as lowering their tone of voice and using 'ha, ha, ha' to encourage the children to come forward and meet Santa. We wish you and your family a very merry Christmas."
Westaff national operations manager Greg Jansz said it was "misleading" to say the company had banned Santa's traditional greeting and it was being left up to the discretion of Santa himself.
Of all the ridiculous things to say might be politically incorrect, the famous laughter of Santa Claus is beyond ridiculous. Westaff's spokesperson said that they merely "encouraged" the Santas to use 'Ha Ha Ha' instead, but why would a simple suggestion cause multiple Santas to quit?
And let's say someone does get offended. Let's say some kid does get scared.
If someone if offended, they can get over it and themselves. If some kid gets a little bit scared by the big man in a red suit, I'm sure he or she will get over it as well without suffering any long-term damage. What do these people think is going to happen? That the five-year-old scared by Santa is going to spend the rest of his life in therapy because Santa said 'Ho Ho Ho' instead of 'Ha Ha Ha'?
Have you ever heard anything more ridiculous?
If a kid was scared of Santa, the way he laughed probably wouldn't change that. And if some chick walking down the street got "offended" because she thought Santa was calling her a ho, then she was probably looking for a situation to take advantage of.
Thankfully, it looks like Westaff has realized their mistake and is backpedaling furiously. It still makes you wonder when exactly this political correctness is going to fade away. Aren't most of us sick and tired of having P.C. everything shoved down our throat (and especially something as non-threatening as the way Santa Claus laughs)?
It's nice to see people, for once, standing up against political correctness running amok. Ho, Ho, Ho, indeed.