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How to set up and sell tickets to the perfect Santa’s Grotto

Here’s how to make your Santa’s Grotto a success this year

Christmas Santa Claus

The festive season is undoubtedly going to look pretty different this year. Sadly, many Christmas fairs and events have already been cancelled – just one of many heartbreaking effects of Covid-19. If you’ve had to cancel a larger event, or are just looking for a way to bring some festive vibes to life amidst the uncertainty, running a Santa’s Grotto could be a great, Covid secure way to keep spirits up. 

Of course, there’ll be various important steps to take to keep things safe and socially distranced. But it’s still possible to create a fun, magical event, whether that’s to raise money for charity or turn a profit for your business.

Here’s how to make your Santa’s Grotto a success this year:

Plan your Covid security measures

Make a list of all Covid security measures you’ll need to consider before you begin planning anything else. Make sure you’re fully aware of your government’s guidelines, and take extra precautions too in case things change over the next few weeks. Measures should include things like:

  • Making the event fully socially distanced – this year it’ll be really important to make sure you’re able to seat children at least two metres away from Santa, and that guests can stay socially distanced too.
  • Running the grotto outdoors and with plenty of open space – even though we associate Santa’s Grotto with being totally snug, this year yours will need to take place out in the open. Just make sure to tell visitors to wrap up warm.
  • Putting plenty of hand sanitiser around the grotto, alongside signs for people to use it regularly. 
  • Wearing masks – Santa could wear a red mask with a white fur trim, and elves can have their own festive designs too. Visitors should also be told to wear masks around the grotto.

a tree with snow and lights

Find the perfect Santa (or Santas)

Now it’s time to find the man himself. Depending on the scale of your event you could hire a pro, or you could simply ask a local volunteer. Make sure you double check your government’s guidance around any official checks the Santa may need. Even if they don’t legally need any checks, it’s wise to make sure they’re aware of child protection procedures.

When making the hire, get potential Santas to do a short audition so you can get a feel for how comfortable they are giving it the ‘ho-ho-ho’, and generally making things good fun for the kids. For example, it’ll be important that they can do a great voice, and are confident enough to ad lib a bit (because kids do say the funniest things). 

You might also want to consider hiring more than one Santa so they can work in shifts. Just make sure they’re never seen in the same place at once! 

Enlist some little helpers

Next, enlist staff or volunteers to dress up as elves and help with various things around the grotto, like welcoming people and answering any questions.

Get to work on creating your winter wonderland

Even though your Santa’s Grotto will be a little different this year, there are still tons of ways to make it twinkly, atmospheric and festive. Follow these steps to make it as magical as can be:

  • Choose an appropriate outdoor site: you might be able to get your local authority’s permission to set up in a park, or you could opt for something like a forest clearing. 
  • Get as many gazebos as you need to make things comfortable and dry for the number of people you’re expecting. Decorate them too – think strings of fairy lights and plenty of fake snow.
  • Hire equipment or a grotto set: if you don’t fancy going down the DIY route, you could hire a ready-made grotto. It might also be a good idea to hire some outdoor heaters – although not a necessity if you tell people to wrap up warm.
  • Don’t forget the Christmas tree: make it big, and cover it generously with decorations and fairy lights.
  • Create a festive floor: even putting something down as simple as straw can really add to the rustic grotto vibe. 
  • Get a big, comfy chair for Santa: perhaps one of the most important parts of the whole grotto! 
  • Make makeshift prezzies: wrap up cardboard boxes and place them in heaps around the grotto. 

a hand holding a phone with a christmas tree in the background

Plan and purchase any free gifts

It’s a nice touch to send the little ones away with a free gift at the end of their visit. This could be something like a festive book, some sweeties, or a Christmas tree decoration.

Create a schedule

This is more important than ever now that there’s Covid-19 to consider, too. Make a strict schedule with 10-15 minute time slots for kids to visit Santa – but make sure to keep a few slots free to avoid tears if the occasional parent forgot to pre-book.

Set up online event registration to sell tickets

It’ll be much easier and more streamlined to sell tickets to your grotto online, rather than on the door. Choose a well-regarded platform to do this, and make sure it offers all the features you need. Ticket Tailor let’s you personalise your events page, so you can make it super-festive, and won’t charge you a percentage of your sales,  just a simple flat fee. It also lets you easily scan tickets via a handy app, keeping entry to your grotto quick and efficient. To see what your listing could look like:

Head to our Santa’s Grotto event page demo >

When creating your event listing, be sure to give it lots of lovely description about what guests can expect. Don’t forget to include practical information too, like whether there’ll be toilets, travel information and, of course, information about Covid security measures. 

Finally, make it so that customers can easily book their time slot when purchasing their ticket, to keep everything as streamlined as possible. 

Promote your Santa’s Grotto

All that’s left to do now is to promote your Santa’s Grotto so the right people hear about it. Use channels like Facebook and Instagram to spread the word, posting plenty of image-rich content that builds anticipation about the event. 

Head to our article on promoting an event on Instagram to learn more >

When you sell tickets on Ticket Tailor, you can integrate your event page with social media, making it easier to promote it and, of course, make those all important sales. 

Here’s to getting festive whatever way we can this holiday season!

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