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5 Tips for a Great Christmas Grotto

The festive season is a magical time and for many, the build-up to the big day is just as exciting as when Christmas day finally dawns.

All over the UK, Santa will be taking up his position in his grotto, preparing to welcome families. However, there are some Christmas grotto experiences that have fallen short of expectations in recent years.

From donkeys dressed as reindeers to a grumpy Santa and elves, the disappointment of a poor experience is tangible.

Here are our top five tips for making a Christmas grotto truly magical…

#1 Take time setting the scene

It is the small details that get noticed so don’t compromise when it comes to creating the backdrop to your Santa’s Grotto. A tablecloth as a backdrop won’t cut the mustard so be prepared to spend on Grotto accessories from twinkling lights to jingling carols in the background.

Hire some pieces to give your Grotto the professional edge over other grottos in the locality. For example, the bigger and grander Santa’s chair, the better.

#2 Make it accessible

Accessibility is key so that every child and every family has the option of taking a turn through Santa’s grotto;

* Wheelchair access – have ramp access, if needed, and make sure that there is room to manoeuvre a wheelchair through the grotto.
* Access for people with sight difficulties – marking out the pathway in a contrasting colour will help them navigate safely through, as well as elves who can help if needed.
* Hearing difficulties – it may be possible to hire a hearing loop system, great for families struggling with hearing issues.
* Language barriers – we live in a diverse society and you know, even Santa needs help from translation technology every now and then…

#3 Make it affordable

Christmas is an expensive time and so an affordable trip through Santa’s Grotto will be welcomed by most families struggling to balance the budget this festive season.

However, there are a few lessons to be learnt here and one is that the more people pay for entry to Santa’s Grotto, the higher the expectation. Paying £20 per child, for example, only to get a lucky dip gift at the end will bring many complaints.

And don’t bombard parents with ‘extras’. For example, it’s common that children want a photo with our Santas because they look just like the real Father Christmas, but don’t charge for it!

#4 Consider the gifts carefully

Our society is changing and we need to embrace these changes. Santa has too, and no longer produces separate toys for boys and girls. He is also mindful that some toys can be taboo in some families. Bows and arrows, for example, and toy guns may not be acceptable.

Give careful consideration to the gifts being given out, making it clear to parents as they enter the Grotto that if there is something they don’t want their children to have, they should tell one of the elves.

#5 Hire a professional Santa (and elves!)

A professional Santa is one who is trained, experienced and safe for working with children, vulnerable adults and families.

He understands what makes a truly magical, from the glint in his eyes to the smile he gives when people come to see him.

Tell us your best – and worst! – grotto experience!

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