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Santas Can't Say
'Ho, Ho, Ho' No Mo!


THERE'LL be no ho, ho, ho this Christmas. Aspiring Santas have been told not to use the term "ho" because it could be seen as derogatory to women.
Thirty trainees at a Santa course in Adelaide last month, held by recruitment company Westaff, were urged to replace the traditional festive greeting with "ha, ha, ha".
A Santa veteran of 11 years who attended the course told the Sunday Mail the trainer was very clear in spelling out no to "ho".
Two Santa hopefuls reportedly left the course after the trainer's edict.
The term "ho" is also American slang for a prostitute. "We were told it (ho) was a derogatory term for females and can upset people," said the Santa, who did not want to be identified publicly.
"As far as I'm concerned, a hoe is something you dig the ground with.
"I don't think you'll hear too many Santas saying `ha, ha, ha'."
Critics have branded the instruction for Santas to use "Ha! ha! ha! Merry Christmas" as nonsense and madness.
University of South Australia communications senior lecturer Dr Jackie Cook said any banning of "ho, ho, ho" was "nonsense".
"Can we use a garden hoe anymore? Do we have to remove that?" she said.
"Ho, ho, ho from Santa is going to be everywhere. It's going to be in books, on Christmas cards and kids are going to come across it sooner or later.
"You could say that `ha, ha, ha' was dangerous because it was always tied to the villains in movies and horror films."
Family First MLC Dennis Hood described the "ho ho ho" ban as "plain madness".
"There is nothing wrong with `ho ho ho'," he said.
"That term has been used for many years and it hasn't seemed to have done any harm at all.
"This term would be of no offence to anyone at all, it is just the politically correct police trying to impose their views on society."
Westaff is the nation's largest supplier of Santa Clauses, providing more than 550 nationally. It has 60 on its books in South Australia. This year, it has won the lucrative contract to supply Santas at David Jones' Magic Cave in Rundle Mall.
Westaff national operations manager Glen Jansz said the company's Santas had been urged to "tone down" their use of the "ho, ho, ho" phrase - but he said it wasn't for fear of offending women.
"The reason behind that is we find that in some cases the little kids can get a little bit scared of the deep ho, ho, hos and we ask them to be mindful of keeping their voices to a lower level," he said.
"And kids are probably more inclined to understand `ha, ha, ha', than `ho, ho, ho'."
When Santa arrived at the Magic Cave after yesterday's Christmas Pageant, his only greeting to a crowd of hundreds of children was a wave and "Merry Christmas".
"I can say anything I like," he said.
The `ho, ho, ho' edict came as Santa's working conditions were also revealed. The Sunday Mail has obtained a copy of Westaff's "Santa Project" Australian Workplace Agreement.
The 15-page document stipulates, in part, that Santa will:
WORK on a casual basis and earn a base rate of $20.50 an hour.
GET a 10-minute paid toilet break during a four-hour shift and a 30 minute unpaid meal break if working 5.5 hours or longer.
BE AVAILABLE to work at any time on any day for the six weeks leading up to Christmas.
He must also maintain character at all times so as "not to raise any questions or complaints" from customers. His uniform and accessories must always be presentable.
Mr Jansz said the AWA passed the Federal Government's Fairness Test.


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