Bearded franchise-holder Father Christmas today strongly criticised the Government's decision to award the West Coast Christmas Eve present-delivery franchise to his rival, the Easter Bunny.
'I shall fight this all the way in the courts' he told reporters. 'His bid may have been higher, but mine was much more deliverable than his. I can't see that he can make a profit and provide a decent level of service. He'll have to cut corners somehow, probably by refusing to stop at smaller towns and villages.'
Children have also started an online petition to urge the Government to reconsider its decision. 'I've been receiving presents from him on Christmas Eve for the past four years' explained five year old Tyler Taylor, 'and I have to say, he's always been punctual. My presents have always been waiting for me on Christmas morning, and considering he climbs down so many chimneys he leaves minimal mess on the floor - just a few footprints that smell of talcum-powder for some reason. My presents don't always match the ones I ask for on my letter to him, but they're usually pretty good, apart from the satsuma. I just can't see the Easter Bunny delivering the same standards of service.'
The Easter Bunny has defended his victory however, arguing 'I have a proven track record of delivering an inconceivable number of gifts to children in an unrealistic space of time. Okay, so I might have specialised in chocolate-related products in the past, but that doesn't mean I can't deliver Barbie dolls and Playstations as well... As long as they're made of chocolate of course. And everyone likes chocolate coins, don't they?' He also claimed to be investing heavily in new reindeers and a state of the art high speed sleigh.
Children remain unconvinced however. 'The Bunny doesn't even bring the eggs into the house - he hides them in the garden. Will we be expected to hunt for our Furbies and Hexx-Bugs in the snow on Christmas Day?' questioned Tyler.
Minister for Anthropomorphic Personifications, Vanessa Wilcox, said that she was disappointed in Father Christmas' decision to commence legal proceedings. 'I'm confident that the process was robust' she declared, but she did admit that the future tender processes would be made more transparent. 'The Grim Reaper's bidding for the Tooth Fairy franchise next year' she explained, 'and we really wouldn't want to get that one wrong.'