In 1879, a tradition started in Britain with popular department stores opening Santa’s grottos to attract more customers. The first ever grotto was in Liverpool and was called “Christmas fairyland”. Since then, the tradition has come on a long way and throughout the festive season grottos are very popular with families. Throughout December it’s pretty much expected to see grottos everywhere you go, especially at family attractions and Christmas events. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to take your little ones too. There’s just so many! Is it worth it? Will my child just be very frightened and will it be a waste of time (and money)? Or, how about questioning whether it is the right thing to do? Why we don’t do Santas grottos
There’s been a lot of discussion about children’s consent and Santas grottos. I totally get it. I mean, isn’t it just a little bit weird to expect our child to want to go and sit on a strangers knee, when anywhere else that would be deemed completely unacceptable?
Or do you think it’s just a little bit of fun and a lovely tradition that you want to introduce to your children? I would love to know what you think, as I’m in two minds myself. Eric is only 2 this year and he’s very shy, so I thought I would save my money and time and perhaps do it next year instead. A little voice in the back of my mind, though, is telling me what it’s wrong. I don’t know if I feel 100% comfortable with it.
To explore this further I asked a bunch of experienced parents what they think about Santas grottos and whether they take their children to see the man in red himself. There’s some interesting views!
Why we don’t do Santas grottos
- “We didn’t bother when our daughter was 3-4 because the years before that she’d just cried and stood as far away from him as possible!” Digital Motherhood
- “I find it hard to explain it in the context of a real Santa existing at the North Pole and having written and posted a letter to him who this weirdo in the shopping centre is?! Also the gifts are just tat you don’t need” Not my first rodeo
- “We’ve started going to a ‘breakfast with santa’ instead – much nicer, less rushed and you get a cooked breakfast out of it too – win win”! Evenangelsfall
- “Why is Santa everywhere when he should be getting ready for his big job on Christmas eve?! I never really understood the whole visiting Santa in the lead up to the big day for that reason as it doesn’t match up what we tell our children about him. That and the fact it is ridiculously expensive a lot of the time.” Rtoats blog
- “Because my son loves the idea of Santa. But in practice, it’s a massive guy with a beard trying to get a photo taken with him and it’s a bit overwhelming. On the last 2 attempts our son has point blank refused to go near him, instead shouting his wish list from the other side of the room before hastily departing. So we’ll give it a miss this year” One small human
- “It’s expensive, the little ones get scared and I think it can ruin the magic. Plus there’s always long queues!” Midwife and life
- “I don’t like the whole concept of the naughty and nice lists. The thought of having my daughter sit on a strange man’s lap for a photo makes me feel uncomfortable too, I don’t think it sends a great message.” Raising a ragamuffin
What’s your verdict?
What’s your opinion on Santas grottos and will you be taking your kids to one this year?