As the festive season approaches, police are being forced to mount armed guards outside department store Christmas grottoes following a series of violent assaults on Father Christmases, which have left parents outraged and children traumatised. In the most serious incident so far, at the Totnes branch of Debenhams, a group of orphans from a local children’s home visiting the grotto had the misfortune to witness Santa being seriously assaulted by a mob wearing puritan hats and wielding flaming torches. “They burst in with no warning,” says one eyewitness. “Children were thrown aside as they grabbed Santa and beat him to the ground. The kiddies were shrieking in terror as these lunatics stripped Father Christmas of his red suit and beard before giving him a bloody good kicking!” The beard was then ritually burned. One little girl was reportedly severely traumatised by this, as she had apparently seen her beloved Grandfather perish the previous Christmas, when his beard had been set alight by faulty curling tongs. The red suit was later discovered nailed to the door of a local church.

After the beard-burning, the mob proceeded to tie Santa to a fake Christmas tree and attempted to burn him at the stake, using presents and tinsel trimming as kindling. “It was terrifying, when Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer tried to intervene they felled him with electric cattle prods,” recalls an assistant who witnessed the attack. “Apparently the guy inside the Rudolf suit has still not regained any feeling in his testicles and doctors reckon he might never have a normal erection again.” Luckily, the store’s sprinkler system foiled the attackers’ attempts to torch St Nick and they were forced to flee – but not before stringing up four elves and two gnomes from artificial Christmas trees. “Thankfully, security guards were able to cut them down before any serious harm was done,” said a store spokesperson. Similar incidents have been reported up and down the country, and police fear that the attacks may become more widespread. “Officers in London have already foiled an attempt by a group of axe-wielding maniacs dressed in Klu Klux Klan-style robes to chop down the giant Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square,” revealed a police spokesperson. The elite National Crime Squad has also issued a warning to beware of unexpected parcels, especially if gift-wrapped, after seven children were treated in hospital for third degree burns after a bomb – probably disguised as a present – exploded in the grotto in the Salford branch of Woolworths. Although there were no fatalities, the grotto was completely destroyed.

Whilst the police have so far made no arrests, it is widely suspected that the puritan League of Public Decency is behind these attacks. The League, a militant offshoot of Mary Whitehouse’s National Viewers and Listeners Association, gained notoriety earlier this year when its campaign against TV filth culminated in the attempted lynchings of several TV executives it accused of being pornographers. Indeed, the League’s chairman, Ezekiel Deacon, has frequently spoken out against the secularisation of Christmas, denouncing the figure of Father Christmas as being a cheerleader for the commercialisation of the festival, and has long called for a more austere celebration of Christmas – a quiet and sober contemplation of the birth of Christ rather than non-stop mirth and merriment.

“The modern symbols of Christmas – the phallic tree, the Star of David, the fairy, the mistletoe – are the evil icons of paganism, debasing the true Christian nature of the festival!” he recently told a television reporter. “As for this Father Christmas, he is a potent symbol of rampant sexual abandon and fecundity, resuscitated by the Coca Cola Corporation – the evil empire of commercial secularism – in the 1920s, in an attempt to replace Jesus as the central figure of the Christmas celebration!” He believes that a sacred religious festival is in imminent danger of being transformed into an annual orgy of conspicuous copulation and consumerism. “The giving of expensive gifts is obviously symbolic of the exchange of bodily fluids during sexual intercourse,” Deacon claimed in a Daily Mail interview last month. “The tree, stiff and erect and adorned with balls, is clearly symbolic of the pagan fertilty-god Santa Claus’ sexual potency. Most disturbingly, the invitation to young children to visit him in his grotto to receive surprise ‘gifts’, is obviously some kind of ritual initiation of the young into Santa Claus’ obscene sex-cult! After all, he invites them to sit on his lap – the seat of his erect sexual organ!”

Whilst many have simply dismissed Deacon’s statements as the demented rantings of a religious obsessive, folklore expert Professor Eugene Jingler believes that the puritan’s assessment of the origins of Father Christmas are not too far off of the mark. “The modern figure of Father Christmas is derived from such pagan figures as Herne the Hunter, the Green Man or the Wild Man of the Woods – symbols of fertility who traditionally appeared at midwinter festivals in order to symbolically impregnate young village women in preparation for the re-birth of the land come Spring,” he told The Sleaze. “Indeed, one such festival is still enacted in a small German town near Frankfurt every December. Here, a naked bearded man, his hair and beard adorned with holly and mistletoe, rushes into the town from the nearby forest, and goes from house to house, pounding on each door with his erect penis, demanding to mate with every young unmarried woman on the premises. Finally, exhausted by his gargantuan sexual exertions, he apparently drops dead, only to be miraculously revived after being plied with huge amounts of food and alcohol. His final act is to stand on the church roof and masturbate, ejaculating his semen over the entire town and its populace, thereby ensuring the fertility of the land for the next year. Obviously, the modern Yule Log derives from his penis, the consumption of rich food and drink from his revival, whilst the eating of mince pies is symbolic of oral sex – the word mince derives from the word minge, a popular term for the female genitalia.”

There have, of course, been attempts to revive such customs in Britain. Older readers may recall Druidic High Priest Noel Yultide – a leading advocate of returning Christmas to its pagan origins – being invited onto the Christmas 1978 edition of children’s TV show Blue Peter, in the mistaken belief that he was a harmless Christmas-obsessed eccentric. However, he proceeded to expose himself to the combined Boy Scouts and Girl Guides choir before leaping on presenter Valerie Singleton and attempting to tear her clothes off – fellow presenter John Noakes was eventually able to beat him off with the Blue Peter Christmas tree