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Community / Public space

CityMetric Advent 18: These people had a terrible time at Santa's grotto

Santa’s grottos have become a December staple in any town worth its Christmas salt. They’re the ideal way to bring the community together, make children happy, and raise cash in exchange for small, plastic presents and a hug with an out-of-work actor.

Sometimes, though, what should be a highlight in the festive calendar goes, very, very wrong. Perhaps it’s the heightened expectations, or perhaps it’s the inherent stress of queuing for hours just to sit on a stranger’s knee. Either way, these people went to visit Santa and ended up having the worst time imaginable. 

The kids who visited this Santa

From the Daily Mail

White papers from our partners

Tell it like it is, Santa. Don’t hold back.

These babies

This baby’s seen something terrible and it’s ruined Christmas. 

Image: Mark Levin via Flickr.

This baby just wants to go home.

Image: Rachel Gardner at Flickr.

This animal-loving family

From Tripadvisor, on a festive trip to a reindeer farm: 

Traumatising- Rudolph is dead and we saw the skins to prove it!… Santa was very good and spent the time to talk properly with the kids before giving them a decent gift. As soon as we had left the grotto though, we were confronted with REAL REINDEERS SKINS, advertised as such, and at child’s eye level. 

My eldest can read so he was faced with the reality that reindeers had been killed for the fur, and he was most upset by this. 

These wordsmiths who reviewed London’s Winter Wonderland 

At least it gave them the chance to show off their punning skills.

This mum 

From Mumsnet: 

There was no grotto just a corridor to queue through with Peter Pan (the theme for this year) wallpaper and Father Christmas was ok but he really didn’t play the part that well. He was very slim and his beard and hair were obviously fake (and he had really hairy arms peeking out of his robe!) and he told [my kid] that if he didn’t give him eye contact he wouldn’t get a gift! 

HEAR THAT, MEAN SANTA? YOU’RE NOT FAT ENOUGH. 

Visitors to this ill-fated attraction

Yorkshire’s Magical Winterland opened on 10 December, closed temporarily on 12 December, and announced its pernament closure four days after that.

According to the Metro (which also ran pictures of the attraction’s sad-looking model polar bears and penguins with captions like “total desolation”, “sheer agony” and “misery”), the grotto was strewn with deflated snowmen, a creepy Grinch-like Santa mannequin, and fairground rides that weren’t included in the £20-a-head entry price. According to the Mail, Santa was “grumpy looking” and disappeared well before the end of the day. 


In a somewhat strange turn of events, someone has launched a Facebook campaign to save the aforementioned Grinch-like statue, which apparently disappeared after the attraction’s closure. The group’s description reads:

We were all aggrieved by the Yorkshire’s Magical Winterland experience and subsequent closure, but worryingly the beautiful skinny green alien Grinch which was the main attraction is now in an unknown location, we need to secure his safe return.

The world really does work in mysterious ways. 
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