Alternative ideas to grottos
A successful Santa's grotto can reign in a big profit,
but you may be keen to try something new at your Christmas fair
this year. Take a look at these alternatives...
1. Mrs Claus' Kitchen
Bake batches of plain biscuits and cut these into festive shapes
(trees, gingerbread men, etc). Alternatively, you could ask local
bakeries for donations or buy in bulk from a wholesaler. Give
children the chance to add their own twist with squeezy bottles
filled with different-coloured icing, and bowls of miniature sweets
and silver balls for decorations. Charge £1 to decorate and eat.
Cover your workspace or school kitchen with lights and festive
bunting, and have a staff member or volunteer dress up as 'Mrs
Claus', there to lend a hand when needed!
2. Breakfast with Santa
If your Santa would prefer to be out and about than inside a
grotto, invite pupils to have breakfast before school or on the
morning of your Christmas fair. Purchase juice, boxes of cereal,
croissants, fruit and bread for toast from a local supermarket or
wholesaler. You could presell tickets on the playground or in the
classroom, or ask for payment on arrival. Charge between £1-3 for
breakfast and a small present - these could include Christmas
stories, colouring and puzzle books, crayons or mini selection
boxes. Set up tables in your school hall, and decorate with festive
tablecloths, paper plates and cutlery. During the event, have your
Santa circle the room, handing out presents and chatting to pupils
while they eat their breakfast. Children could also have their
photo taken with Santa, which could be printed and place in
bookbags at the end of the school day.
'We hold this event for two hours on a Saturday morning. We
cater for up to 100 children aged three and over. We require
parents to stay at the event, and Year 6 helpers dress up as
Tickets cost £5 and the breakfast is donated by a parent who
owns a local coffee shop chain. We boost profits by selling
hot drinks and pastries to parents and running a raffle of
donated prizes for younger children.
Children can write a letter to Santa for 50p using our template
- Santa even emails them a reply! A volunteer dresses as Santa and
gives each child a present. Last year we made £650.'
Eleanor Long, PTA Vice-Chair, Evenlode Primary School,
Penarth, Glamorgan (450 pupils)
3. Storytime with Santa
Little children can find visiting Santa quite intimidating, with
a strange man, wearing a crazy outfit, huddled in a dark cavern!
Rather than children entering the grotto one at a time, how about
setting up your grotto to house an intimate gathering of children,
with Santa as your celebrity storyteller? Run this as part of your
Christmas fair and create a cosy atmosphere with a fake fireplace,
fairy lights, beanbags or cushions for the children to sit on. Sell
tickets beforehand, offering a choice of time slots, and invite
groups of children to sit with Santa for 10-minutes of stories and
present-giving. Have your Santa read a selection of festive stories
(don't forget 'Twas the Night Before Christmas!) and give out small
gifts to pupils at the end.
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