Santa Claus must be a man, councillors have decided following a vote on whether a woman could step into the role.
.A debate was sparked when a woman offered to play Father Christmas in the traditional Santa Claus tour at a town in County Durham. Since at least the 1970s, Santas have toured the town in a flatbed truck every Christmas Eve, handing out sweets to delighted children. The Santas have always been male volunteers but it was suggested that a woman could step in this year. We asked you in an online poll if Santa should be played by a man or a woman. And the results are in.
That led to calls of political correctness and a fear of disappointed children who would expect a male voice to be ho-ho-hoing.
At a meeting of Great Aycliffe Town Council's Recreation Committee on Wednesday, the recommendation from its events sub-committee to allow women volunteers to be Santa in Newton Aycliffe was considered - and rejected.
In a statement the council said: "The Recreation Committee did not agree with the recommendation and confirmed by resolution that the role of Santa Claus should continue to be a male role."
The debate followed worries earlier this year that the tour would have to be scrapped amid concerns about the legality of someone travelling on the back of a moving van, until Chief Constable Mike Barton made an assurance Father Christmas would not be prosecuted as long as the vehicle was slow.
Here's how you reacted to the story on Facebook.
Kelly Cuthbertson: "Saint Nicholas was a man. It wasn't Saint Nicola. Next it will be can the Easter bunny be a cat."
Neil Campion: "I personally wouldn’t take my kid to a female Santa. For me it was always about the person being as realistic as possible to keep the magic alive. Anything which could have cast doubt I’d avoid."
Maureen McLuckie: "Isn't the word FATHER a man and not a woman."
Paul Summerside: "Call me pedantic ... but wasn't it St Nicholas, not St Nicola?"
Sharon Rutter: "All my kids and myself were brought up knowing he was male why change it now?"
Alan McGinn: "Cross gender roles have never been a problem in pantomime."
Dawn Willson: "Question to ask yourselves. Do you take your kids to see a pantomime. Is Prince charming played by a woman. Are the dames men in women's clothing.? If the answer to this is yes then what's the problem with a woman playing Santa?"
Karen Dawson: "Santa Klaus actually means Saint Nicholas who was a real historical person & obviously male so it has to be a bloke."
Carol Burton: "This is getting ridiculous, just because women want to be treated the same as men, doesn't mean they should be Father Christmas."