Blasphemy! Blasphemy! Armageddon is certainly nigh. Germany and Austria have banned Santa Claus.

Anti-Santa campaigners in these two heretical nations claim Father Christmas was invented by Coca-Cola (I kid you not); and detracts from the true spirit of the festive season. Austria’s biggest Christmas market, in front of the Vienna city hall, is crowded with stalls offering everything related to Xmas - except Santa, that is. The only Santa to be seen is the one in the middle of the occasional ‘Ban Santa’ stickers. Ban Santa stickers? Is nothing sacred? Why doesn’t the Big Guy Upstairs smite them with lightning? A Vienna city hall spokesman confirmed: “There are rules governing what stallholders can do and one of them is to agree not to use the image of Santa as a condition of being able to trade there.” Goddamn fascists! Wait, it gets worse. “Santa is an English language creation,” says he, “people who want to see him should go to America, where I am sure Coca-Cola will be happy to oblige.” Fighting words indeed! I wonder if George Bush is planning an invasion. The move in Vienna has been followed by Christmas markets across Austria and Germany, where the traditional bearer of Christmas gifts is Saint Nicholas. It’s the same guy, you airheads. Bettina Schade, from the Frankfurter Nicholas Initiative in Germany, said: “We object to the material things, the hectic rush to buy gifts, and the ubiquity of the bearded man in the red suit that are taking away from the core meaning of Christmas. The Christian origins of Christmas, like the birth of Jesus, have receded into the background. It’s becoming more and more a festival that is reduced to simply worldly gifts and commerce.” Hey lady! Who elected you pope?

All patriotic Americans intending to bring in Christmas drowning German beer and dancing to Strauss waltzes should seriously reconsider their plans. And calling it Freedom beer would just be a cop out.