Forget candy canes, Santa's handing out hand sanitizer this year

It's a promise from Santa Claus, so it has to be good: The global swine flu pandemic won't stop him from delivering presents this year.

"I swear that Christmas will not be canceled this year," Father Christmas told Finnish national broadcaster YLE, explaining that many children were worried he would catch swine flu, according to an ATP story.

And in what may not look like the kindest move after a child has left his lap, Santa Claus is pulling out the hand sanitizer and tissues more than ever this holiday season in an effort to ward off swine flu and the seasonal flu.

In yet another sign of how lives are changing in the fight against H1N1, mall Santas are being asked this year to get vaccinated, use hand sanitizer often, wash their beards regularly and bleach and wash their white gloves nightly, according to a story in the Vancouver Sun.