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Summer summit for stressed Santas

Summer season for Santas includes a visit to the beach
Summer season for Santas includes a visit to the beach  

By CNN's Katrine Lundgreen

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (CNN) -- More than 120 Santas from all over the world are meeting in Denmark to discuss working conditions.

The three-day congress, which began on Monday, is tackling topics like the size of presents and the date when they are delivered to children, with Spanish Santas pressing to move it from December 24 to January 6.

The 39th world congress at Bakken, the world's oldest funfair, includes delegates from El Salvador, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Japan, Italy and Greenland.

"This time of year allows Father Christmas to let go a little bit. The congress is meant as a fun gathering for authorised Santa Clauses around the world in a non-winter environment," says organiser Tina Baungaard-Jensen.

"But personally I find the date for Christmas Eve a particular important issue."

In Spain Christmas is celebrated on January 6, when the three wise men are said to have visited baby Jesus with presents of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

"Every year this is causing a great stir with the Spanish Father Christmas, who has not yet arrived at the congress this year," Baungaard-Jensen told CNN.

Working conditions are becoming harder for Santas
Working conditions are becoming harder for Santas  

She added: "The increasing wish for bigger presents among children is also a great concern for Santas. Children are no longer satisfied with merely a teddy or a small toy, but demand computers, scooters or stereos."

Full-time Santa Nick Niikanoff adds: "Santas at the congress face great difficulties with the actual delivery of the presents.

"Satellite dishes on rooftops leave no space for sledges or reindeer and harm working conditions. Finding a way to get into the house is the next problem, since even fewer houses have chimneys these days."

Other Santas are concerned with European bureaucracy hampering their attempts to deliver presents.

"EU's rules on transport weight limits make it hard for Santa to fulfill the children's wishes for bigger presents" says Santa Henrik Jacobsen, whose day job is a prison guard.

The Santa Claus of Greenland Foundation, which authorises Father Christmas' worldwide, is also a major charity organisation for children in need and in those cases little is better than nothing.

The Santas, aged 25 and up, will parade through the Danish capital and hold fitness competitions to make sure they are still trim enough to climb down chimneys. They will also hold an annual paddle at the beach.




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