Santas in Australia's largest city have been told not to use Father Christmas's traditional ‘ho, ho, ho’ greeting because it may be offensive to women.

Sydney's Santa Clauses have instead been instructed to say ‘ha, ha, ha’.

One disgruntled Santa told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that a recruitment firm warned him not to use ‘ho, ho, ho’ because it could frighten children and was too close to ‘ho’, a US slang term for prostitute.