Will, "Ha, ha, ha; Happy Holidays," be what you hear this year when you put your little tyke on Santa's knee?
If you live in Sydney, Australia, it's a possibility.
From this source:
(All emphasis mine)
When kids hear Santa Claus bellow, "Ho, ho, ho," is their first thought prostitution?
That concern has prompted an attempt to gag the traditional greeting, and many Santas are now fighting back.
According to the Sydney Daily Telegraph, Santas across Australia are rebelling against attempts to change their saying to a more politically correct, "ha, ha, ha."
It all started when the recruitment firm Westaff – which has offices both in the United States and Australia – told its Christmas trainees that the "ho, ho, ho" phrase could frighten children and possibly be derogatory to women.
(Look, I don't know any woman who has ever inferred that she was indirectly being called a whore while her child is giving Santa their list. Frankly, if she does, she's got bigger problems than the mall Santa insulting her on the sly.
As for frightening children... Most are until they hit about three years old. When you see a child younger than that on Santa's lap, it's for the parent's gratification, not the baby's.)
"Westaff has been a provider of quality caring Santas for over 40 years," Westaff's national Santa coordinator Sari Hegarty wrote to stores via e-mail.
"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."
(As I said earlier, most babies are going to be a little fearful. This is the same phenomenon that drives some parents to carry their infant baby around in a Halloween costume with a pail. Who's going to eat that candy?
Tell the parents to try again next year.)
The directions have prompted some Santa trainees to quit the program.
One told the Daily Telegraph he was taught not to use "ho, ho, ho" because it was too close to the American slang for prostitute.
"Gimme a break," said Julie Gale, head of the campaign against sexualizing children called Kids Free 2B Kids. "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."
Dr. Joe Tucci, CEO of the Australian Childhood Foundation, called it the latest example of political correctness gone mad.
"There is no stronger tradition for children than Santa's ho, ho, ho," Tucci said.
At a Myer store, where Westaff also trains 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.
So what is it? A directive from the staffing service, or a mandate from the store where the Santa will be employed? If it is the latter, I would be avoiding that store like the plague!
Political correctness will be the death of Western civilization if not stopped, as certainly as I type these words!