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What makes a good Santa's Grotto?

(17 Posts)
lostlalaloopsy Sat 21-Nov-15 16:18:10

I'm part of a community group that are doing a Santa's Grotto for the first time. I really want to make sure it's good so it will continue every year. So what makes a good grotto in your opinion? Decorations, music, anything really!

originalmavis Sat 21-Nov-15 16:20:20

Helpers dressed up, someone to entertain the queues, photos with Santa, nicely wrapped gift, a Santa with a good patter...

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Sat 21-Nov-15 16:23:47

It must be twinkly. And sparkly.

And it must have half decent gifts. I'd rather spend £5 and get a decent gift than £2 and get a mini selection box or plastic tat.

PirateSmile Sat 21-Nov-15 16:25:26

No bored looking teenagers dressed as elves. Santa in a decent costume.

SlinkyB Sat 21-Nov-15 16:28:51

Went to our first one of the year today at a church. Things I liked:

1) £1 per child
2) you write kids names on piece of paper whilst waiting and it gets taken away
3) Mrs Claus was in the room, being all jolly and joining too
4) kids got a selection box (I'd rather chocolate --that I can eat--) than plastic tat
5) kids got a "nice list" certificate from Santa with their name written on. 4.5yr old ds1 spotted his name and was very impressed Father Christmas knew it! (Obvs this is why you write names on a list).

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Sat 21-Nov-15 16:28:52

Oh and I once took DS to one where I filled out a form with a few facts about DS (name of pet, favourite toy, previous year's present I think) so when we went in Father Christmas was able to say "Hello <DS>, how's <DCat>? Did you like your <probably Thomas shit> last year?

Bloody genius that one grin

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Sat 21-Nov-15 16:30:43

I'd say no to the photos, I don't want someone trying to flog me pictures at exorbitant prices when I can quite happily take my own. Maybe have it as an option for those that haven't got a camera / phone, but ask first, don't just make it the default.

Yes to queue entertainment, makes sure the queue is in a warm place and that there is an indication of how long it is going to be, pre-booked slots for busy times is a good idea. Lots of twinkles and sparkles. Background music, not blaring, make sure the playlist is longer than the queue time. Mince pies and hot drinks for anyone that wants them.

chanie44 Sat 21-Nov-15 17:04:36

Long queues are off putting as the children get bored waiting. Some kind of time slots could be good

Experiences which are over quickly are disappointing. An 'activity' in addition to Santa visit is good eg decorate a cookie, make a decoration etc, will make the experience longer

Rivercam Sat 21-Nov-15 17:10:38

Make the grotto magical. The best one I've seen are when they are like a sparkly, pretty, cave. Young children need to believe they are entering a magical world. You need to transform the room from its normal look, to something completely different.

OSETmum Sat 21-Nov-15 17:22:54

A Santa that is not skinny like the one we went to last year grin

LaurieFairyCake Sat 21-Nov-15 17:30:53

Shit to buy, cakes, hot chocolate, decorations, even gifts.

SlinkyB Sat 21-Nov-15 18:06:01

Oh yeah, that was the other thing Mrs Claus was good for; she asked if you had a phone or camera - then she took a pic of me with the kids and FC on it. Thought that was kind.

NannyR Sat 21-Nov-15 20:18:58

My dad does Santa for a couple of play group parties every year and he goes to a lot of effort to look convincing.
He has a really lovely suit which cost quite a bit, but he's used it for years (you could prob hire something similar) - I hate it when Santa is wearing a cheap, ill fitting suit over his own clothes with a fake fur beard hooked over his ears.
He pads himself out under his suit, makes sure his beard is well stuck on in case of curious tugging, he powders his eyebrows white so they match the beard and rouges his cheeks pink. He has a 'magic' key on his belt to deal with the inevitable "I haven't got a chimney" questions and he makes sure that he engages each child in conversation and uses their name (discreetly written on an age appropriate gift)

All his grandchildren have been to see him and didn't have a clue that it was grandad!

SlinkyB Sun 22-Nov-15 08:26:41

He sounds fab Nanny!

lostlalaloopsy Sun 22-Nov-15 19:26:37

Thanks everyone for the great tips!

ElasticPants Sun 22-Nov-15 21:06:31

The best one DC ever saw happened to live near us. Dd1 mentioned the street name, and Santa remembered tripping up over a ginger cat on Christmas Eve there last year. Neighbours cat regularly blocks the pavement and refuses to move.

It was pure magic. They were amazed.

MARGUERITE18 Sun 22-Nov-15 21:37:38

film playing or arts and crafts with elves in waiting roon, choose your own gift, long chat with santa, animatronics in grotto line etc

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