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Santa Claus is coming to a Museum near you this Christmas
Perhaps Christmas isn't all conspicuous consumption after all. At one time the place to visit Santa in his grotto would have been in a department store or a shopping centre, but now the big man in the red suit is also putting in appearances at museums. If you would like to treat your child to an educational experience, rather than a shopping one, you could visit one of several grottos in the run up to the festive season this year. The Museum of London's grotto will be occupied by Santa in the run up to Christmas and by that old miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, after the holiday. The jolly bearer of presents will be in residence between 8 and 23 December so that you can ask him, very nicely, to bring you your favourite toy. If Christmas doesn't turn out too well this year and you're in a 'Bah humbug' mood, possibly because Father Christmas didn't bring what you wanted, or because you've eaten too much Christmas pudding, you can have a good old whinge at Scrooge after the festive break. Dickens's curmudgeonly creation will occupy the grotto between 27 and 31 December. You may even manage to cheer him up and get yourself a present anyway. Whichever grotto you decide to visit the entry fee is £5.
Santa Claus (picture courtesy of museumoflondon.org.uk)
Remaining with the Christmas theme, there will also be storytelling sessions with music and puppets for younger children on 28 December, and Dickens will reappear on 28 and 29 December with productions of A Christmas Carol.
We all know that Christmas is a magical time and Santa's and Scrooge's twin brothers will be in residence at the Museum of London Docklands as well. Other events on offer there will include story time sessions, and the chance to make your own Christmas felt decorations and to create some ghostly art.
Ebenezer Scrooge (picture courtesy of museumoflondon.org.uk)
The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill will be hosting a Christmas Fayre over the weekend of 8 and 9 December. In addition to their Christmas Market, there will be carol singing and a carol concert to remind us of the religious significance of the season. However Santa will also be occupying his grotto over that weekend and tickets are bookable via the website.
Santa's Grotto (picture courtesy of horniman.ac.uk)
At the Museum of Childhood you'll be able to find out about Christmas traditions of the past, as well as to make Christmas crafts and learn about the story of The Nutcracker. Unfortunately Father Christmas won't be putting in an appearance as he will be committed in too many other places at the same time.
A Victorian Christmas (picture courtesy of museumofchildhood.org.uk)
Whichever venue you decide to visit, don't forget to be on your best behaviour: the man with the red suit and the white beard always knows who is naughty and who is nice. That is why he checks his list twice.