There’s a hint of “only in America” about the man warned to stop impersonating Father Christmas.

Rotund James Worley, who sports a large white beard and just happened to be wearing a red hat and shirt, was told by officials at Disney World in Florida that he was confusing the children by playing along when they asked him if he was Santa.

He was reportedly informed that if he continued with the bogus “Ho, ho, ho-ing” and deflecting attention from Disney’s own Father Christmas, he would be ejected from the park (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6189521.stm).

Mr Worley, who not unreasonably pointed out: “I look this way 24/7, 365 days a year. This is me”, nevertheless had to agree.

More worryingly, he claims that the officials told him “Santa was considered a Disney character”.

That is clearly not the case. Everyone knows that we have Coca-Cola to thank for the image of the jolly, portly, white-bearded, red-suited Father Christmas that Mr Worley was mistaken for while strolling around the park.

I wonder whether we’ll now witness a battle of the corporate giants over characterisation rights?

What also jars is the assertion from Disney that it only acted after they had complaints from “several guests who were very upset”.

It doesn’t bode well for any large-boned, white-bearded, red wearing man if people get so upset at the mere sight of them.

It all smacks of the worst kind of Santa-ism to me.

Still, Merry Christmas to everyone involved.

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