No Go For Grottos

By london_euan Last edited 161 months ago
No Go For Grottos

santa.jpgIs it Christmas in London yet? It's really hard to tell, what with traditional festive lights being replaced with a shameless movie promotion and a distinct lack of Santa Clauses.

And we're not the only ones that have noticed.

James Lovell, director of "Crazee" PR stunt company, Ministry of Fun have seen a steep decline in the demand for their Santa lookalikes.

"A lot of stores have just stuck up more shelves, selling more products" bemoans poor James, who probably provides the Kris Kringle dopplegangers for free, but when he's not fretting about the bottom line he does have a point.

The larger London department stores are moving away from your more traditional Grotto based lap-sitting experiences and towards a more drive-by Santa encounter where the failed beardy actor accosts you on the shop floor.

A Selfridges spokesperson believe that this "gives our customers better access to him. They don't have to queue for a grotto."

Nothing to do with expensive floor space, lower overheads and generally poor Christmas revenue as more and more shoppers wait for the sales or buy online then?

Either way the only Grotto Londonist has seen so far was in a shopping mall in Belfast where Santa was being tailed by a 5 foot orange dinosaur, which we're still struggling to work out the seasonal relevance of.

Last Updated 13 December 2004


The New York Times had an article on this very subject today (Dec 14th, 2004:

Clearly they're concerned.

Best quote? A Mr. Jones talking about the need for video surveillance in his grotto:

"It's peace of mind for the parents and for Santa," said Gilmore Jones, the manager of St. Elli Shopping Center. "Things happen. We didn't mean to be drastic, nothing of the sort."

Santa's house is still popular, and the children do not mind the camera at all, he said. "They think it's a cracking idea,"


I'm sure Santa is pleased too, given what happened to him in Scotland:

Up north in Scotland, Santa has confronted bigger problems. Every year for decades Santa Claus has ridden down every single street in Clackmannanshire, collecting money for charity. Two years ago, though, he and his elves were set upon by an expletive-shouting gang of 40 teenage thugs who hurled stones, some as big as potatoes.

But what size potatoes?
Baby new potatoes?
please god, not a King Edward...