Famed toff tat outlet Harrods has been forced to put Christmas on hold after its website buckled under the weight of families rushing for some lap time with Santa.
Despite the global recession, the Knightsbridge store said it had experienced "unprecedented demand" for access to the Grotto.
"We have temporarily removed the online booking system. Please rest assured this will be reactivated as soon as possible," it said.
The Knightsbridge store this year introduced a new booking system, to allow families to book an appointment with its current Saints Nick* to cut waiting times. The Harrods Christmas department was launched on 4 August. The Grotto - which includes some geographically confused live penguins - opens in November.
Once the booking system is back up, would-be visitors will be pleased to hear that "tickets are free of charge with an administration fee of £5 per booking". Now, that's posh.
Thanks to Reg reader Dave for the festive spot. ®
*There are apparently six on rota each year. In 2006 one was sent back to the North Pole after some unpleasantness.