When Did Santas Get So, Y'know, Bitchy?

Santa Wars as Deposed British World Champ Fumes

from The Associated Press

LONDON - The British Father Christmas who lost his Santa of the Year world crown lashed out, citing a suspected campaign to stop him from winning again that has damaged "Santa morale."

Ron Horniblew, 70, has been authorized by the Master Santa in Greenland and is part of the elite international Santa circuit who compete at the Santa Winter Games, where up to 50 Father Christmases compete for the world title.

Estonian accordionist Aare Rebban grabbed the crown "amid dark mutterings of political voting, professional jealousy and backbiting," The Mail on Sunday newspaper said.

At the Games in Gallivare in Swedish Lapland, Santas sled, race reindeer-drawn sleighs, eat porridge - with a splash on the beard earning instant disqualification - climb chimneys and deliver presents under the watchful gaze of a panel of judges.

Horniblew said it all came down to the reindeer sled race.

"You go up two at a time, head-to-head," he told The Mail on Sunday.

"I was up against the Estonian and I won the race. He actually fell off his sleigh. But he got awarded extra points for falling in a particularly Santa-like style.

"I was pretty miffed at that, I can tell you."

Horniblew is deadly serious about Santa. Uniformed Santas must not smoke, drink alcohol, or swear.

"I've had it written into my wedding vows that I'll be out being Santa on Christmas Day," Horniblew said.

"When I die, I want my suit, with my authorized badge and Winter Games medals, to be draped over my coffin and my Santa boots sat on top."


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