x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ... in a very shiny tin?

Reindeer meat causes controversy, a costly and embarrassing Christmas display, brawling Santas and how not to ask for a gift in News You Can Lose.

Cans of reindeer pate sold out at Harvey Nichols in London this week despite protests by vegetarians.

The spiced pate is made from "a farm-raised relative of Rudolph" - it says on the label - by a British company called Edible. The firm says it specialises in foreign delicacies including Swedish Arctic reindeer meat and follows "strict wildlife conservation ethics".

Harvey Nichols in Dubai doesn't have it, and it's out of stock on the Edible site, which is closed until January 3. We're not so sure how a last-minute delivery request would go over with Santa … or Rudolph.

 

"Seasns eets"

Christmas lights are supposed to be a source of civic pride for the towns and cities that they illuminate. But not for the residents of Aylesbury this year. The festive display in the town in southern Englandhas earned it the unenviable distinction of being called "the shabbiest in Britain".

Despite costing £27,000 (Dh154,000), the faulty lights left Santa faceless and a reindeer with only one antler and one leg, and described Aylesbury itself as "a nice lace to be". Its festive message was simply: "Seasns eets."

According to local resident Barbara Murphy, 64: "Half the lights don't work, which makes some of the characters more scary than festive. They're more likely to scare children than fill them with joy."

 

Scrooge taken to court

Bob Cratchit would have sympathised with the employees of Beaver Press in Sydney, Australia. Giving Ebeneezer Scrooge a run for his money in the misanthropy stakes, the printing company's director, Robert Michael Francis, refused to pay five of his staff their Christmas wages. With barely a "Humbug," between him and Dickens's famous curmudgeon, Francis placed his company in voluntary administration to avoid paying staff over the festive season.

In response to one worker's protestations that they wouldn't be able to buy presents for their children, Francis said: "Well I'm not getting any presents either you know. If you don't like it then leave."

His workers didn't like it but nor did they leave. They took their boss to the Federal Magistrates' Court, who fined the curmudgeon A$8,000 for refusing to give the five members of staff $55,000.

 

Santas scarper

Police were called to break up a brawl involving three men, two of them in Santa costumes, last weekend.

The victim, who wasn't dressed as Santa, had minor injuries from the fight at the Rusty Gull Pub in Vancouver, Canada, but the two Santas were nowhere to be found. "I guess they took off on their sleigh somewhere," police spokesman Richard De Jong told the Vancouver Sun.

 

A green Christmas

A 17-year-old thief was swiftly arrested after the owner of a garden centre in Yorkshire, England, John Dacre, reported the theft of several Christmas trees.

"I called the police, they were here within minutes and we found this trail of pine needles," Mr Dacre explained. A police spokesman said: "The foliage led officers to a house where the stolen trees were found and recovered. As an extra present, officers also found a cannabis farm."

 

Naughty, not nice

Nobody seems to have introduced 13-year-old Mekeena Austin to the concept of asking nicely.

Mekeena, from Bedford in England, shocked her mother when she handed over her letter to Santa. Among a lengthy list was a request for the "real life Justin Bieber", and in lieu of the word "please" was a threat to kill the old boy and to "hunt down" his reindeer "cook them and serve their meat to the homeless people on Christmas Day" should he fail to deliver.

In her defence, Mekeena said that she was "mostly joking".