A Covid-19 Christmas? There’s no doubt that celebrating Christmas with kids will be a little different this year. Most attractions and shopping malls will be cancelling Santa’s Grottos or trying to move the festivities online. But that doesn’t mean that you and your little ones need to lose out on these unforgettable memories and the festive spirit.
Your kids have been asked to give up so much during the Covid-19 crisis, but they don’t have to give up a trip to see Santa. Why not transform your front room into a magical winter wonderland that your kids will remember for the rest of their lives? This is a fun treat for adults too – don’t be surprised if adults of all ages get drawn into the wonder of Christmas in your front room Grotto! Now, all you need is a willing volunteer to play the Big Guy or Mrs Claus…
Santa’s Grotto is supposed to remind visitors of a cosy cave in Lapland, so have a think about the best room in your home for the transformation. The front room might be the best option, but you should also consider spare bedrooms, attics, wine cellars, basements, garages, and even your shed. An outdoor Grotto is also an option – think of how magical your gazebo or back garden could look when converted into a winter wonderland.
You also need to consider the potential disruption. If you use your home office for regular Zoom meetings, it may not be a great idea to convert it into a holiday Grotto for a few days to a week!
If you can’t think of the perfect room at first, don’t fret. After all, your home wasn’t originally designed to become a Grotto! But with some creativity and a few design tweaks, you can create a brilliant holiday masterpiece that your children will remember forever.
Now here comes the truly fun and creative part! Include a wide variety of different Christmas decorations in your Grotto. Some great ideas include twinkling stars, glittery fabrics, Santa’s elves, reindeer, baubles, candy canes, and brightly coloured sweets. Add decorations along the eaves, on the ceiling, and on the fabric, and then drip tinsel and garland all over the place for some sparkle!
Add as many Christmas trees of varying heights and sizes as you can comfortably fit into the space. Of course, the most important decorations in Santa’s Grotto are the wrapped presents. Use a wide variety of empty boxes of differing sizes and shapes, all covered in colourful paper, bows, and ribbons. Scatter them under the trees, leaning against walls, and in big stacks to delight and entice the kiddies.
Not all of the presents should be decoys – keep a few real wrapped gifts next to Santa for him to hand out to the kid after they sit on his lap. These can be something simple and affordable, or make them something extra special that ‘only Santa would know about.’ Pick an item or two from your child’s letter to Santa and watch their eyes light up with glee!
The right lighting can take your Santa’s Grotto from mediocre and slapdash to wondrous and spectacular! Twinkling fairy lights and warm glowing candles will create a magical atmosphere perfect for photos.
Try these lighting ideas:
Never underestimate the power of lighting to transform a room and make it feel more magical. With the glow of candles and the twinkling of fairy lights, your Grotto will truly come to life.
Of course, Santa needs somewhere comfortable and regal to sit. It wouldn’t be Santa’s Grotto without a chair suitable for Old Saint Nick himself. We recommend adding some white faux fur to one or two comfy wingback chairs in order to create North Pole thrones for Santa and Mrs Claus.
Santa might also enjoy a footstool if he is planning to sit for a long period of time!
The youngest kiddies are often delighted (and let’s face it, sometimes a little scared) by even the most modest Santa costumes. However, once the little ones reach the age of 5 or 6, they start to cotton on! They look for the slightest inconsistencies in Santa’s beard, hat, and costume – it’s got to be spot on.
If you’re a true sewing whiz, maybe you can whip up a fantastic Father Christmas costume on your home sewing machine. Check out these tips for making a brilliant Santa fancy-dress costume at home. You could even pair it with some Elf costumes to really bring the whole experience to life!
However, if you’re not up for the task, there is no shame in hiring a Santa costume from a fancy-dress shop. They’ll be sure to have an authentic festive Santa costume that will impress even the most sceptical child.
As with any home build project, you need to keep safety your number one priority. This is especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic – you don’t want to have to take a trip to the A&E unless it’s absolutely necessary!
When laying down sheets and fabric, watch out for tripping hazards and make sure that they are cleared away – the most common seasonable tripping hazard is strings of fairy lights. If you are constructing any elements out of wood, make sure that the edges are completely sanded down and all nails and tacks are safely hammered into the wood. If your Grotto is located in your shed, ensure that your tools are tucked away and secured to prevent little hands from accessing them.
When using candles throughout your Grotto, be sure to keep the flames far away from walkways. Up high is preferable but ensure that the flame cannot rise and catch on any draped fabric. If your Grotto is particularly cramped, make the switch to battery-operated candles. There are some very convincing ones out there these days!
It doesn’t have to cost a lot – you can repurpose and reuse items from around the house, and find many of these supplies in charity shops. Find battery-operated candles and affordable fairy lights in pound shops, and ask on local Facebook groups to see if anyone has components they can lend or donate.
There you have it – it’s a lot easier than you might think to create a magical Santa’s Grotto in your front room, spare bedroom, or shed. Your children will never forget the wonder and magic of this truly memorable Christmas tradition.
A Santa’s Grotto at home is a wonderful surprise that your children will adore – have a happy Christmas!
Extended reading resource:-
Blanken, R. (2019). Santa Costume Ideas You Can Make at Home. [online] The Spruce Crafts. Available at: https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/how-to-make-a-santa-costume-3977969 [Accessed 19 Nov. 2020].
Lakeland Kitchens (2016). How to Turn Your Home into a Christmas Grotto. [online] Lakeland Kitchens. Available at: https://lakelandkitchens.com/blog/how-to-turn-your-home-into-christmas-grotto [Accessed 19 Nov. 2020].
Paxton, R. (2017). How to Create Your Own Santa’s Grotto. [online] Creative Homemaking. Available at: https://creativehomemaking.com/holidays/christmas/santas-grotto/ [Accessed 19 Nov. 2020].
Yorkshire Wonders (2018). How to Make Your Home Feel More Like a Grotto This Christmas ⋆ Yorkshire Wonders. [online] Yorkshire Wonders. Available at: https://yorkshirewonders.co.uk/make-your-home-christmas [Accessed 19 Nov. 2020].
Edward is the managing director of Sloane & Sons Stylish Chairs. He is an expert in quality, comfortable upholstered chairs.