Santa’s grotto is every child’s dream – after all, you get to make your Christmas wishes come true by meeting the legend who will bring you presents on the big day.
(Someone should have told five-year-old me that because all I did was cry and scream that I wanted my mum, apparently). Anyway, the fact of the matter is, it’s supposed to be a magical part of the festive period.
But for some children in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, the magic of Christmas was ruined when the Santa they were visiting in his grotto allegedly ripped off his hat and beard before swearing at them. Ah, the true spirit of Christmas.
As reported by Cambridgeshire Live, the annual Father Christmas Grotto experience was underway at the Corn Exchange in Market Hill on Sunday, December 9 when the incident happened.
Everything was going smoothly until smoke machines, which were being used downstairs in a separate family-friendly rave event, set fire alarms off.
In an attempt to get the group of approximately 50 children and their parents to safety, it is alleged Santa began acting strangely by swearing at the crowd and ripping off his beard and hat.
A mum who was present at the event told Cambridgeshire Live that Santa used the ‘most vile language’ when addressing the crowd.
People were in the process of vacating the building and in came angry Santa swearing using the most vile language, ripping off his hat and beard with steam literally coming from his ears… not too sure why he was so cross?
He was shouting at people to leave, which is exactly what we were doing. Very strange behaviour.
The mum, who wishes to remain anonymous, went on to say that her children luckily didn’t pay too much attention to the outburst, although they became upset when they heard the crowd outside talking about Santa’s ‘horrible’ behaviour.
She went on to say:
My friend’s little boy was upset as his dad was carrying him when Santa told them ‘to get the f*ck out’.
We told our children he wasn’t the real Santa. He was an imposter and will be going on the naughty list.
The organisers of the event, Festival Events St Ives (FESt), have since apologised for the incident by posting to their official Facebook page.
The post read:
Last Sunday during a family rave event (not a FESt event) in the Corn Exchange, St Ives, the fire alarms were activated by smoke in the Charter Hall.
Santa was upstairs in his grotto, an event organised by Festival Events St Ives (a voluntary organisation) and immediately assisted in the evacuation of the building.
FESt wish to apologise for any offence or distress caused to parents and children by the attempts to ensure all visitors and staff had exited the building and were safe.
Blimey. This all makes my Santa’s grotto experience seem like a walk in the park to be honest with you.
Hopefully the children will be able to forget about this alleged incident and can go to another grotto soon to see the ‘real’ Santa.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).