Look out, Santa — your elves may be unionizing.
The Finnish service-employees union PAM is fighting to make sure part-time Santas and elves at a Christmas park are treated as full-timers, reports Norway's Aftenposten newspaper.
The union points out that a recent group of British children visiting the famed Santa Park (search), near Rovaniemi above the Arctic Circle, was disappointed because not every child was able to meet one-on-one with Santa Claus.
"If one cannot arrange a meeting for children with Santa in connection with a trip to Lapland, disappointment is obviously great," said a union spokesman. "Santa's reputation is damaged and Finland's reputation as a tourist destination is damaged."
Part-time Santas, the union says, mean lower-quality Santas, but Santa Park refuses to give seasonal workers the same benefits awarded to year-rounders.
Santa Park charges an entry price of about $26 per adult, or $66 per family.
Santa hasn't been having it so well in southern France, either.
A jolly Père Nöel was handing out candy to children in the town of Ales, near Marseille, when he was mugged by a gang of teenagers, reports the BBC.
Things had been going well, until one of the ruffians demanded extra candy, and St. Nick refused.
The teens, described as all about 15 years old, beat and kicked Santa until passersby drove them off.
Santa suffered bruises and has filed a criminal complaint.
LOUISA, Ky. (AP) — A weekly newspaper in eastern Kentucky has apologized for mistakenly printing sexually explicit Christmas jokes that left some blushing readers as red as Santa's suit.
The Lawrence County Storm also retrieved unsold copies of this week's edition from newsstands in and around Louisa, where it is published.
Louisa Mayor Teddy Preston (search) said he received phone calls from constituents who were angered and embarrassed by the jokes.
"It was very, very vulgar," Preston said. "It is something that shouldn't have been written in a local newspaper or anywhere else for that matter."
Some of the jokes were simply corny, but others put Santa in sexual situations, or made light of the religious side of Christmas.
The newspaper's publisher, Glen Cassady, couldn't be reached for comment. Elva McCoy, a member of the newspaper staff, told WSAZ-TV in Huntington, W.Va., that the jokes were published by mistake.
McCoy told the TV station that someone on the staff had been reading the jokes on the Internet and that they had inadvertently made their way into the newspaper.
"There have been cases before where people have typed a silly comment and somehow that got into the paper," said David Thompson, executive director of the Kentucky Press Association (search). "What it takes to do that is beyond me."
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — A couple of cows must have been in the mood for some holiday shopping when they jumped out of a moving trailer on busy boulevard.
After Saturday's escape, owner Alberto Ribera of Jerome took a look at the livestock gate and laughed.
"They jumped it," he said.
He had been headed to the local livestock sale when the animals decided to make their getaway.
Officers with the Twin Falls Police Department and the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Department arrived to help get the animals back in their pen.
The heifers showed no sign of major injury, but they appeared to be shaken up by their ordeal.
In the end, animals and owner reached a compromise.
"I'm going to take them back home," Ribera said.
HONOLULU (AP) — A shortage of Christmas trees in Hawaii has raised prices to more than $200 each, drawing complaints from cost-conscious shoppers who are eager to buy trees before the holiday.
Tree buyers camped outside a shopping center hours before dawn on Saturday to await a shipment of 130 noble firs flown in from Oregon.
A crowd of more than 200 people had gathered by morning, when a salesman announced the trees would cost $165 to $200 each.
Consumers complained that was at least twice the price charged just a few days earlier. In previous weeks, trees sold for $30 to $70.
Most Christmas trees sold in Hawaii have been delivered by cargo ships from farms in the Pacific Northwest. Last season, sellers suffered losses when hundreds went unsold, forcing them to give many trees away.
But this year, smaller orders caused a major shortage across the islands. Many major retailers sold out.
"Last year, a lot of places over-ordered," said Dasha Nixon, a manager at the Wal-Mart on Maui, which brought in 200 fewer trees this year. "This year, it looks like they under-ordered."
The tree salesman, Mele Kalikimaka Turner, insisted his price was fair for top-quality trees delivered week before Christmas.
"I am not gouging," said Turner whose first name means "Merry Christmas" in Hawaiian. "It's a fair price for the time and energy. There's a lot involved in bringing a tree to Hawaii."
But some customers rebelled.
"He thinks he's got us because he's got the trees. But we have the money, and maybe we won't pay," shouted Barbara Taylor of Honolulu.
One man, in desperation, gave up waiting in line and used his cell phone to order a tree from Colorado for $80 plus $145 for shipping. Another shopper purchased a 7-foot fir for $215.
Mike Swenson paid $185 for a 5- to 6-foot tree.
"I paid way too much," he said.
ANTHON, Iowa (AP) — Home and business owners in this northwest Iowa town of 650 people were a little shocked at the Christmas gift they got from retired farmer Richard Hamann and his wife, Donna.
The Hamanns doled out $25,000 to pay the town's electricity bills — all due on Dec. 25.
Hamann, 75, sees the gift as returning a good deed.
"The Lord has been very good to us and so have the people of this community, so I always thought we ought to be doing something in return if we could," he said Monday.
Residents said they were surprised and grateful.
"I just thought it was great," said Beulah Sands, 64, a clerk at a local convenience store. "I haven't talked to anyone who didn't appreciate it. It was a wonderful thing for him to do."
Sands said the Hamanns' gift saved her more than $50.
A stack of thank you cards and letters sits in a bundle on Richard Hamann's desk in an office at his home.
One letter came from Joyce Sevening, who wrote that her sister, Fay Miller, is an Anthon resident who has been in poor health in recent months. She said news of the gift brought a tear to her eye.
"It makes me proud that such people as you exist in small towns in Iowa," wrote Sevening, who provided no return address. "It makes me feel good that someone would go out of their way to help another in any way possible."
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Paul Wagenseil.
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