For millions of children worldwide, Christmas might not turn out to be the biggest disappointment of the year after all.
It has been revealed that despite the fervent denials from Washington, Santa Claus was in fact detained by US authorities just before heading into Canada on the final leg of his global journey, during the early hours of 25th December 2006.
A resident of the North Pole, which is not a US owned territory, Mr Claus failed to secure the appropriate entrance visa in advance and so entered America illegally when distributing presents.
Because of the goodwill nature of his deliveries, supported by children’s charities around the world, most countries have turned something of a blind eye to the annual illegal border crossings, especially as he rarely stays more than 20 minutes.
Nevertheless, since 9/11, American hostility towards those not born and raised on US soil has grown to what some are calling “overly paranoid” proportions and, as such, the self-styled Father Christmas had come to be seen as a major threat to national security in certain quarters.
When it was discovered that Canada was the final stop on Santa’s return journey to the North Pole, and that only Canadian children had woken up on Christmas morning last year to find their stockings still empty, it was the Government of Canada who initially came under fire from suspicious citizens. However a report leaked on to the Internet from a disgruntled NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) employee, revealed clear evidence Santa’s disappearance had in fact happened below the 49th Parallel.
For over ten months the US Administration continued to deny all knowledge until secret video footage smuggled out of Guantanamo Bay revealed a drawn and haggard looking man with a long white beard, who had obviously lost a lot of weight.
We might never know the extent to which he was interrogated, or whether the techniques used on him count as torture under the Geneva convention, however, a relieved, if somewhat thinner, Santa has now been returned to the cooler climes of the frozen North.
What brought about his release remains as much a mystery as his ability to eat half a billion mince pies in a single night, but rumours have recently started to circulate that Dick Cheney is a major shareholder in one of Mr Claus’ subsidiary businesses, which plummeted on the New York Stock Exchange shortly after Santa’s disappearance.
But while some have welcomed the newer, svelte looking Santa, citing that the jolly fat man image was an inappropriate role model in this day and age of rising obesity, let us at least hope, for the sake of all our children, that Santa obtains the appropriate paperwork in future.