Sad Santas Decry PC Christmas Rules

It is the time of the year when thousands of children look forward to perching on Santa’s knee, but a growing number of men who bring the smiles to their faces want to call it quits this year because they believe political correctness is ruining the magic of Christmas.

One of WA’s longest serving Father Christmases, Kevan Hook, 68,was aghast when told that after 10 years in the job he must have both hands showing to protect him from allegations of child abuse.

He was also told that asking if children have been well behaved for “mummy and daddy” must now be replaced with “have you been good for your folks” in case the child has same sex parents.

During one season, Mr Hook was ticked off seven times by senior staff at Perth shopping centres for minor slip-ups, which he said were later proved unfounded.

There were just too many rules for everyone involved to remember.

At the time, the allegations were extremely hurtful and he said it almost dashed his confidence despite spending a decade in the role as Santa. “It was far more casual in the old days but now it has become Americanised and over the top with political correctness and formality,” Mr Hook said.

“On the whole, I love the job and to be honest it would take a lot for me to pull the pin, but sometimes you have to ask yourself is it really worth it.” He said watching the children’s faces light up when they whisper what they want for Christmas would make it hard for him to leave.

Cameron Lissner of Westaff, the country’s largest recruiter of Santas, said he was struggling to fill the grottos this year. The company normally hires 500 Santas to spread the Christmas cheer around the country’s shopping centres, but despite a weekend wage of $27 an hour, he had received 150 fewer applications this year.

He believes it is partly because of a lack of suitable advertising, but acknowledged that some retirees could be disillusioned by the growing number of regulations imposed by recruitment agencies and shopping centres to guard against legal action.

Mr Lissner said Santas were even being discouraged from chuckling Ho, Ho, Ho because it was considered offensive to women. “You can’t ask if they are “naughty or nice” because it implies they haven’t been good. Everything needs to have a positive spin on it. Many rules have come out of the US.”

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