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Santa Claus Must Wait His Turn, Belgian Lawmaker Says

November 17, 1995| Reuters

BRUSSELS — A Belgian politician on Thursday proposed a law banning Santa Claus from appearing before the feast day of a rival mythic gift-giver, St. Nicholas, because children become confused, he says.

Santa Claus should wait his turn until after St. Nicholas Day has passed on Dec. 6, Hugo Olaets said.

"Publicity should only show Santa Claus after St. Nicholas' arrival. Otherwise, the fairy tale mystery is gone," Olaets said.

In Belgium, the Netherlands and some other parts of Europe, St. Nicholas is said to bring gifts to children Dec. 6. The popular saint wears a bishop's miter, rides a white horse and is accompanied by a mysterious servant.

Olaets' draft law would restrict when advertisers may use the two figures in promotions. "Publicity campaigns are starting earlier and earlier, so you can almost see Santa Claus in the shops in October," Olaets complained.

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