Westaff, the recruitment firm at the center of the controversy, issued a statement saying the whole thing was overblown.
"Westaff has been a provider of quality caring Santas for over forty years," wrote Sari Hegarty, the company's national Santa coordinator, in an e-mail to stores. "Part of our advice to our Santas is that they should be mindful of children having their first Santa experience. We ask our Santas to try techniques such as lowering their tone of voice and using 'ha, ha, ha' to encourage the children to come forward and meet Santa. We wish you and your family a very merry Christmas."
Man, have I got a song for Australia (actually, Paul does): "Santa Lost A Ho," which is track No. 1 on The Christmas Jug Band's fantastically funny record, Uncorked.
BONUS: Download a free MP3 of "Santa Lost a Ho."