Local Grottos – The Hidden Gems of Christmas

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Local Grottos - The Hidden Gems of Christmas

I LOVE Santa.

I love the idea of Santa and I love taking the twins to meet him.  This is not something that I can just do once per year. I originally limited it to 3 this year, but I have zero self control and we’ll have seen 5 Santas by Christmas Day!

I know I will have to just pick one next year, when the twins might be old enough to start wondering why there are so many Santas… but not this year.

The thing is, it can get very expensive if you want to take your kids to lots of big grottos. Really, the price of some of them is extortionate. Longleat’s Festival of Light and Santas grotto definitely wasn’t cheap (even though it was worth it). That’s why I think you should check out

Local grottos

My absolute favourite Santa is at our local Community Centre. We found him completely by chance in 2016 – the twins’ first Christmas. I never expect much from little local grottos, but when I saw it advertised on Facebook, so many people were commenting about how he was the best Santa ever, I just couldn’t resist booking a slot for the twins.

Meeting Santa 2016

Santa is so lovely and he’s the best kind! A real-beard Santa! He really is the real deal – no fake beards here! He really takes the time to make it special for each kid, too. The first year that we went, the twins were 10 months old and didn’t have a clue what was going on, but Santa still made an effort to talk to them and pose for all the photos we wanted. Alice wasn’t a fan… bless her. But Jack really liked him! The best bit is that, being a little local grotto, the price was really reasonable. Cheap, even!

Last year was a bit less fun.

I booked an afternoon session and Santa was running a bit late. This is because he talks to every child and doesn’t rush them, so I didn’t mind… but the twins were a little under 2 and did not like waiting. They got very impatient and everyone had to listen to them crying and shouting and I had to chase them around the market, trying to stop them taking things off the tables. Still, once we got into that room with Santa, all that was forgotten. The twins weren’t too fond of Santa last year, but Santa didn’t mind. He was so lovely to them. And I still got that all important photo. Even if it wasn’t a smiley one.

Meeting Santa at the local grotto 2017

This year, I learned my lesson and booked the earliest session I could get. It didn’t change how lovely Santa was – I imagine he’s as kind to the last child he sees as he is to the first, but it did make a difference to the twins’ patience levels! I will definitely try to get an early slot next year, too. At least, I really hope he comes back next year, because he really is the very best Santa and getting a photo of the twins with him has turned into a bit of a tradition.

Photo with Santa 2018

No tears from Alice this year! She didn’t want to sit on his lap, but was happy to sit next to him. And Jack loved him! He was so impressed that Santa knew his name and a little bit about him and was happy to sit in on his lap.

Jack with Santa

So if you want to take your kids to see Santa, but don’t want to pay the big ticket prices of the big grottos, check out your local grottos – little garden centres, community centres, shopping centres etc. You might find your next Christmas tradition!

Local Grottos - The Hidden Gems of Christmas


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