Some startling news from the far northern hemisphere is that well known sleigh-driver, Greenland’s S.Claus, is swopping machines this Christmas and will be doing his annual “toy run” on a specially equipped mountain bike.

“I’ve found the cost of fodder for the rein-deer has risen too much to make the Christmas delivery  financially viable, so, after a chat with some of the younger guys in Athens, I’ve opted for  a mountain bike with full suspension, as have all my little elves, who help out in the workshop,” said Santa, as he is better known to most of the world’s younger inhabitants.

This radical change will surely provide a marketing windfall for the lucky company which wins Santa’s favour, but, as usual, he is saying nothing about his choice of bike.

“I have obviously been out for a bit of window-shopping, and spent some time recently in Taiwan, California, Canada, Austria, and Italy, but we only expect to place the order in the next few days so, clearly, it hasn’t yet been finalised,” commented Santa.

* May Santa bring everyone that special wish for 2005 – on his new two-wheeled machine, of which very little is yet known, except that it’s painted in the brightest of reds.