From the Times:

Santa Claus has been abandoned by Cyprus this Christmas as the island resorts to Greek mythology and the tennis ace Marcos Baghdatis to win over Cypriots in its euro campaign.

A festive promotional blitz is being conducted to prepare islanders for the coming of the euro on January 1, with many yet to be convinced that the new currency will not have a negative impact on the economy.

Instead of Santa bearing gifts to children on his sleigh, the mythical figure of Europa appears on seasonal posters doing the job for him. According to legend, Europa was seduced by Zeus, who changed into a white bull to carry her away on his back. In gratitude for giving him three sons, the Greek god named a continent after her – Europe. “Our idea for this Christmas is to send the message that our relations with Europe go back to Greek mythology when Zeus stole a beautiful girl called Europa,” Aliki Stylianou-Koundourou, a Cypriot Finance Ministry official, said.

“We are not replacing Santa Claus, we’re just introducing a new European element to our euro Christmas campaign.” Baghdatis, the island’s first top 20 tennis star, has lent his support to the campaign as well.