One of the top attractions at any Christmas Fair is a visit from Santa, but trying to turn a classroom or corridor into a magical winter wonderland can be tricky when you're tight on time and budget!
So here are our top tips for making a festive grotto fit for Santa and his elves, and a peek at what other PTAs do.
In a rush?
These ideas are simple yet effective!
This idea can be achieved in a quiet corridor – the decor makes it feel festive, and the addition of a red carpet definitely adds a touch of glamour. And it won't cost you an arm and a leg either, so a real winner!
This PTA in Liverpool hired an inflatable grotto for Santa's visit! Add a Christmas tree and some presents, and you've got a fuss-free grotto that's ready in minutes.
This PTA made use of a printed backdrop and tinsel curtains to achieve a great-looking grotto without hours and hours of hard work! (Auction websites are a good place to find props like this at decent prices.)
If your school has an outdoor learning space or large wooden hut, these can be perfect spaces for an easy transformation into a magical grotto. With the addition of white sheets, fairy lights and Christmas trees, it's almost like being in Lapland!
Let's get creative!
Got an arty crafty volunteer? We've got some creations for them to get stuck into that will transform your grotto into a magical place!
Here's a neat idea that will make any grotto feel festive, and you don't have to be an artist to achieve it! These "fireplaces" were made from cardboard boxes, just add some tinsel and a few fairy lights to make it look extra cosy.
Got a gazebo from your summer fair? It's a brilliant way of making a cosy grotto within a classroom! Use some fabric to line the walls, add some twinkly lights and decorations (or maybe even some fake snow!) and hey presto – somewhere for Santa to meet and greet the kids 🙂 Check out these gazebo grottos…..
We take our hats off to whoever created this: a snowman made out of plastic cups!
Loving this handmade sign, as seen on our Christmas Pinterest board! (You'll find loads more clever Christmassy ideas there too)
Now this is something really special….. uber-talented volunteer Fiona Shaw helps paint the classroom windows in this school every December, for a truly festive feel. How amazing is that?!
More grotto tips and tricks
- Paper chains and paper snowflakes make lovely, cheap decorations. You could even ask teachers if the pupils could do this as a classroom activity, or run a lunchtime "Santa's Workshop" for the kids to get creative!
- Want to make sure every child gets to see Santa? You could take small groups in at a time, or how about a slightly different approach – maybe Story time with Santa? Or he could visit every table at a special breakfast or afternoon tea event?
- Or some schools have *whisper* two Santas! Yes this will mean extra man/woman power to set up and organise, but this does keep the queues down and means twice as much profit! If you have a corridor with two facing classroom doors, you can create tunnels into the rooms using large sheets or display boards, with the entrances covered by another large sheet. Just be sure not to call two families at once or the game will be up!
- And we have a simple solution for keep your grotto queues to an absolute minimum – let parents buy timed Santa slots with PTAsocial's online ticket service! Easy to set up, much less admin, no more selling tickets in a freezing playground, money paid straight into the PTA bank account – what's not to love?! Read how using this method for their Santa's Grotto actually got one PTA more volunteers for their fair, then click here to set up a PTAsocial account so you can save yourself some time this Christmas!
We hope you've been inspired by our grotto-themed blog! We'd love to see what you've magical spaces you've created for Santa's visit – email us, tweet or share your pictures and ideas with over 2,200 other PTA volunteers in our Facebook group for PTAs 😊
And don't forget to download our Ultimate Christmas Fair ideas, with tons of inspiration for your festive events!
PTAsocial’s easy-to-use digital tools empower PTAs and school parent organisations to efficiently plan school community events, and radically increase volunteers and funds raised. Find out more and start a free account here.