Bad Santa! Father Christmas sacked after telling children he isn't real and giving horrific detail on US shooting
Father Christmas traditionally asks children if they have been good before handing out gifts and spreading a little festive cheer.
He is not expected to tell them he is not actually real before going on to describe a horrific US school shooting that left 28 people dead.
But one such Santa did exactly that, leaving three under-10-year-olds in floods of tears and their mother declaring that it was the worst day of her life.
Wendy Kennett, 33, and her husband Steven took Ryan, 10, Amy, seven, and Katie, six, to visit Father Christmas at a local garden centre, paying £5.99 per child.
The excited youngsters sat on his knee and promised that they had all been good boys and girls.
He replied: "Well there are bad people in the world and bad things happen, like what happened to those children in America."
Mrs Kennett said Santa then started telling the children in detail about the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, forcing her astonished husband to interrupt him.
Father Christmas then asked the two girls to leave so he could "have a word with their brother."
After whispering something to Ryan, which his parents could not hear, the youngster ran out crying, telling his mother: "Santa told me he is not real, it's just you and dad."
The two young girls heard what their brother said they all broke down in tears.
“I was totally furious,” Mrs Kennett said. “I now had three children in tears. It was the worst day of my life.”
Jim Hawker, a spokesman for Notcutts in Nuneham Courtenay, near Abingdon, Oxon, said: “We have accepted the customers' version of events and have dismissed the Santa, apologised and refunded the family."
He added the firm had also bought them tickets to Winter Wonderland in London.
"The individual has been dismissed from the position and replaced with another Santa for the festive period. Notcutts certainly feels this was an error of judgment on behalf of the individual."
He said the Santa in question had worked at the centre for a number of years and had not attracted any other complaints.
Mrs Kennett said she went to the manager to ask that the Santa be sacked on the spot, but he was kept on for the rest of the day.
Mr Hawker added: "There was a massive queue of children waiting to see Santa and we did not want to disappoint them."
The Kennett family’s day only get worse when they went for a meal at the nearby Tandem Hungry Horse in Kennington, Oxon, to cheer the children up.
Mrs Kennett said that when the children told a balloon artist they had written to Father Christmas, he replied: “That was a waste of time.
"Santa is my best friend, we went skiing last weekend and he told me that he doesn't bother reading letters because he has got better things to do."
Hungry Horse spokesman Amy Golledge said: "Hungry Horse is saddened and disappointed to hear our young diners had been upset by a hired entertainer, especially so close to Christmas."
She said the Kennett family had been offered a complimentary meal.
Of course the Santa was being silly.
Everyone knows Santa is very busy preparing for Christmas with gifts for children across the globe ready to be shipped from the North Pole.