Last month a rumor began to circulate alleging that Santas were being banned from saying "Ho, Ho, Ho" because "Ho" is a slang term for a prostitute. As is often the case with such rumors, there was an event that triggered the rumor, but that event had been twisted and blown out of proportion in the course of being repeated.
What really happened was that Westaff, a firm in Australia that trains Santas for appearances in shopping malls, had cautioned its trainees that many small children are initially scared by Santa. So they told the Santas-in-training "to try techniques such as lowering their tone of voice and using 'ha, ha, ha' to encourage the children to come forward and meet Santa." They never banned their Santas from Ho, Ho, Ho-ing.
Westaff's words of caution transformed into the Ho-Ho-Ho-Banned rumor. And as the rumor spread details were added, such as a claim that two Santa trainees had quit the course in disgust.
The ho, ho, ho rumor has been widely debunked
, but it's still circulating around. Here's a recent sighting of it in UIC's Chicago Flame
Westaff sent a memo out to encourage Santas to say "ha ha ha" because "ho ho ho" may scare children or offend women. Unless a woman is a "ho," she most likely won't be offended by the phrase.