In another surprise announcement, the Department for Reindeer Development confirms rumours that Santa's sleigh has been taken over by the elves.
A spokesman said, "There is absolutely no proof that Santa's sleigh was ever able to complete all the work in one night, or indeed that it was capable of carrying the amount of parcels needed. You have to think of elfin safety.
"Accordingly, it is being replaced by a 2001 Renault Megane Scenic with a winter carrying capacity of 50 elves. This service improvement has been authorised by the Merry Christmas Agency.
"The present delivery service will now operate longer hours, but most children will have to wait several days to get their presents. We do not think this is significant. The Department agreed this new timetable in consultation with the Reindeer Driver Carers Association.
"We can also confirm that Santa Claus submitted a bid to run this new service, but it was deemed non-compliant as we suspected his beard was false.
"A rival consortium of elves put in a bid and this was accepted, although no formal contract is in place. The new operator assures us that all performance and reliability criteria were met in their previous operation to carry Humpty Dumpty, and the problems were out of their control. The winning bid includes provision of a new multi runner sleigh which is scheduled for completion in 2009. It is currently being constructed in the Peter Pan Coachworks in Never Never Land.* This is being supervised by Captain Christopher Robin Hook."
We contacted Santa's Grotto for comment. Rudolf was not available, but Prancer and Dancer indicated that it was more than likely that redundancies would follow.
Reports are already in that a number of elves have been seen wearing cut-down pieces of Santa's familiar red and white uniform. An elf, who did not want to be identified, told us that they have to wear these, since this is all that Scrooge, the Big Fairy in the Department of Fairies and Pixies, would provide....
*Second star on the right and straight on till morning.
It seems the likely cries of the children have just been too much for the Department of Fairies and Pixies. A spokeswoman said late last night that this shambles had nothing to do with it: "Those boyos over at the Department for Reindeer Development couldn't run a bath. As for elfin safety, that's really a matter for the Department of Elves, Troggs and Imps. Santa has been heavily sedated."
The Department for Reindeer Development has advised that all letters addressed to Santa will now be opened by elves.
The Shoemaker and his wife have also expressed relief that the elves had been deployed elsewhere, as it is thought that the quality of their work had diminished to a dangerous level.
Dr Nose from the Ministry of Elf has finally admitted that some senior elves have been afflicted during the past few months by a condition known as Pinocchio Syndrome. The condition had largely gone unnoticed by viewers of Dormant Live due to the customary wooden delivery at the Despatch Counter. The nasal extension had also come as a bit of a surprise as there's been no crack at Dormant for months.
It can also be revealed that other governments have conspired with Dormant to stop media editors reporting the outbreak. It was claimed that disclosure would alarm children unnecessarily.
And there's more. A large container of whitewash has fallen on Santa's new computer and, as there were not enough back-up records, many children will go without presents this year. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Truth said, 'I blame the children.' 'Why?' asked a reporter. 'That's my job; that's what I'm paid to do,' said the spokesperson.
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PS A big thank you to all those who assisted in the compilation of this Christmas tale. I wouldn't be surprised if it's translated into Irish for the benefit of folks in Cape Clear. Perhaps our friends in emara News could do the needful ...
The Santa's Grotto story is excellent.
I do hope that the Department for Reindeer Development hang their heads in shame.
What will I tell my children when Santa does not make it to my house this year?
Still recovering from the laughing fit :D