Children in north-east France will be deprived of a traditional chocolate treat this winter, under the country's ban on religious symbols in schools.
The religious symbols ban has caused most anger among Muslims
The chocolate figures, depicting St Nicholas, were recalled from the area's schools after a teacher noticed large crosses on them, banned under the law.
The mainly Flemish region celebrates the saint's day on 6 December by delivering the chocolates to schools.
The law, which also bans Islamic headscarves, took effect in September.
The discovery was made when a primary school teacher unwrapped the chocolates, and all 1,300 figures were recalled.
But the incident angered the mayor of Coudekerque-Branche, where the row occurred over the saint, also known as Santa Claus.
"The teachers didn't have to touch anything," he said, quoted by AFP news agency. "St Nicholas was a bishop, he is always portrayed with his cross and missal."
But he added that once the chocolates had been opened they were a health risk and could not be sent back.
The council was forced to replace the figures with "nice round sweets and chocolate bars", Le Figaro newspaper said.