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Estonia’s Santas drop whips

Published on 17/12/2009

Tallinn -- A reform bug has bitten Estonia’s Santas Clauses, who have decided to get rid of the birch whips they use to frighten naughty youngsters.

"Good children must grow up without the whip — or the fear of the whip — so we’ve called upon all Santas to leave them at home from now on," a Santa who joined dozens of others at the Baltic nation’s annual Father Christmas congress told Estonian television.

Estonian Santas have traditionally carried a bunch of twigs to put the wind up naughty children — although the weapon remains an unused threat — and remind kids that they won’t get a present if they misbehave.

But some traditions die hard, the Santa noted.

"On delegate asked for the freedom to choose the colour of Santa’s coat, saying he feels allergic to red and wants to wear a yellow coat instead, but that request was turned down by the congress," he explained.