Seasonal/ 7 Dec 2016 / By Emily Hirschmann
The Grotto at the Bottom of the Garden
It’s a difficult one to call; the precise age when the longed-for visit to see Santa will turn from a joyous event of supreme cuteness to a nightmare scene of high decibel wailing. Every child is different, but almost every child will do it, sending shrieks of blue bloody murder echoing around your friendly local grotto, as a poor man dressed in an overly hot red suit does his best to smile jovially.
Sometimes it’s easier, and actually nicer, to make a grotto yourself, especially if you have a large family, with nephews and nieces to join in the fun. An Atelier garden room – or even a common garden shed – could make the perfect grotto, with a little bit of work, a little bit of imagination, and a lot of tinsel!
How to Make a Gorgeous Grotto
- The obvious first step is to clear the space. If you’re working with a shed, make sure all creepy crawlies are safely rehomed, and remove the everyday paraphernalia from your Atelier (or at least cover it with ‘snow drift’ blankets).
- Make an entrance. First impressions really count, so dress your grotto’s doorway. An elf-drawn sign to give cheery welcome. Icicles and lights around the doors and windows. A pretty holly wreath upon the door. Sign posts and fairy lights down the garden path. Straw to the side for Rudolf and co. Fake snow – brands such as SnoWonder and D’Ziner are 100% environmentally friendly.
- The inside of a grotto can vary. In a shed, dark, draped cloth with twinkling lights could work as well as a workbench scattered with tools and wooden toys; Santa and his elves need somewhere to make all those gifts after all! In an Atelier you might prefer a more modern feel, so bring in a Christmas tree bursting with tinsel, lights, candy canes and chocolate coins; this is for the children, so give them what you know they’ll love.
- Lay pine boughs on the floor (on top of a blanket to prevent damage to your lovely Atelier flooring) for that delicious resin-y scent; add to the aroma with mulled spice diffusers.
- Make a seat for Santa. Dress up a chair with ‘furs’ and throws, wrap the arms and back with tinsel and decorations, be sure to leave a spot to the side for mince pies, mulled wine/cordial, milk, cookies and other Christmas treats for Santa and his visitors to share.
- Add a bit of sparkle – tinsel, glitter, fairy lights, spray-on ice crystals etc..
- Presents. Don’t go mad; sometimes a £2 pinball game can be as much fun as the latest interactive gadget. Save the big gifts for Christmas day; in your grotto you can pile up the little things, bringing a bit of tradition to your children’s Christmas with yoyos, sugar mice, satsumas and colouring books.
- Have fun! Working together with your friends and family, a homemade Atelier grotto could be just the thing to make this Christmas sparkle, so don’t get too wound up with the details, just do your best and enjoy yourself.
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