Santa was making his grand entrance at a mall in the U.K. -- not by reindeer or through a chimney but by being lowered from the ceiling -- when one of his defining characteristics became tangled with the rope, leaving him suspended above the crowds for 40 minutes before he was rescued.
The U.K.'s Metro reported that the incident involved Steve Chessell from 11th Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, who was making his way down from a skylight 50 feet above the stage. Once it became apparent that Santa was stuck at 15 feet above the ground, the Metro reported the announcer saying:
"Oh no he hasn't got the rope stuck in his beard? Father Christmas are you going to stay up there? That's the best view of the lights.
"I think Santa wants to stay up there where he can see everybody, who's been a good boy or a good girl… So Father Christmas won't be helping us switch on the lights."
Making the best of the situation, the stuck Santa began waving to the crowd. (Image: YouTube screenshot)
From this angle he looks like an interactive decoration. (Image: YouTube screenshot)
Here a colleague cuts Santa's beard free. (Image: YouTube screenshot)
Watch this video of the event:
But here's the best part: The mall's marketing manager Stephanie Maynard said that Chessell could have taken off the beard and freed himself, but the 32-year-old wasn't about to ruin Christmas dreams for youngsters who were watching.
Chessell was rescued by his colleague Marc Hilton, who cut through the beard to let Santa loose. Even though his trademark beard was cut close, Chessell helped maintain his character's image.