Is Santa Claus coming to your town? You may be tempted to book into a grotto!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and a trip to visit the magical man in red is something that many parents absolutely love to experience with their kids every Christmas. It’s relatively cheap (depending on where you go), and it can be part of a fantastic festive day out in the run up to Christmas.
For parents with smaller children who’ve never been to meet Santa, it might be a tad nerve wracking. There are so many things to consider…
- How will your child react to the new environment?
- How will your child react to meeting Santa?
- What other activities will be included in the ticket price?
Our Trip To See Santa
We took Max to see Santa on Saturday the 7th of December; it was cheaper to take him at the end of November but we like to keep festive fun exclusively to December. A local farm was running a Santa’s Grotto for £12.50 per child, and was the only local one that doesn’t also charge for adults. We didn’t think it was worth it to spend loads of money with Max only being 3 and having a limited understanding of Christmas, so we’re glad we didn’t splurge this year.
Our venue included some fabulous activities for the kids! We all sat down in the ‘workshop’ area of the building, all adorned in Christmas decorations and wooden benches, and helped Max to write his wish list to Santa. He can’t write, so we helped him to draw a bike and a car, and enjoyed the free hot drink and mince pie we were offered!
Max was called in first as he was getting a little restless, so instead of making reindeer food, we went straight in to see Santa! Max was immediately mesmerised by all of the Christmas lights, and of course Santa sat on the chair! He was so excited, and it was adorable to watch him interacting with Santa. We left with a certificate and a toy car.
We also made reindeer food after seeing Santa – this was so fun!
All in all, we had an amazing morning. Max is awaiting autism assessment so his language development is behind, we found that we had to explain this to the elves and Santa a few times when they asked him questions that he can’t answer, so in hindsight I wish I’d noted this on the booking in advance – I hope that this tip helps other parents of SEN children!
I feel that seeing Santa helps smaller children to learn about Santa and about Christmas, so it’s definitely something we’ll be doing every year.
Tips For Other Parents Hoping To Visit a Grotto…
Prepare for all eventualities
As the saying goes, it’s better to be over prepared than under prepared! Consider taking things like…
- Spare outfits
- Extra cash
- Anything your child is attached to in the event of a meltdown
Bring a distraction technique
Like we said above, being over prepared is so helpful. If you’re worried about how your child will react or behave, something that they’re attached to could be a handy distraction technique. We took Max’s favourite Iron Man figure just in case he kicked off at the unfamiliar environment! We also took some snacks and a drink just in case, too. He ended up eating most of his daddy’s mince pie though…
Don’t expect younger kids to understand what is going on
Don’t be surprised if your smaller child is a little overwhelmed by the lights, the sounds, the music, Santa… There’s a lot going on at a Grotto and it can be a little much! Be as soothing and calm as possible to reassure your little one, and follow the above tips to help mitigate this.
Don’t be surprised if they’re scared of Santa!
So many parents in our community have told us that their little one cried the first time they met Santa!
This is so, so normal. Stranger shyness is a totally normal thing at the best of times, let alone when it’s a big man in a bright red costume and huge bushy white beard… It must be disconcerting, but with a little tender reassurance your child will come to recognise Santa as a figure of enjoyment and fun!
Santa may not let your child sit on their lap
Check in advance – many venues now no longer permit children to sit on Santa’s lap due to an increased awareness of consent; some parents and venues feel that putting a child on a strangers lap when they can’t consent could be upsetting for their child as well as concerns reported by many Santa impersonators about potential repercussions of false accusations (which is very sad) so to avoid any problems your Santa may ask that your child sits alongside him, instead.
Take lots of photos
This goes without saying – take lots and lots of photos to commemorate your trip, perhaps you could put them in a memory box or photo album? Always ask first, of course!
Do you want to share your own experience of visitng Santa in his grotto? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story and photographs!
Love from Katie, Toby & Max. Xx