Selfridges and Santa’s grotto

Although The Spectator‘s gossip columnist Steerpike finds it newsworthy that Selfridges will not be offering a Santa’s grotto in 2013 as if it’s a first, nor did they in 2012.

Last year, the iconic store had a wizard instead. How he would have been more child-friendly than a Santa is unclear. He would have freaked me out as a child (piccy at the link). That said, it looks as if a Selfridges Santa inadvertently did the same to a baby in 2011. Poor child. Poor Santa. Did that help to spell the end?

Or had CRB checks become too onerous?

Time Out reported in October 2012:

As part of their ‘Not Your Usual Christmas’ campaign, Selfridges has knocked down Santa’s Grotto and replaced it with a giant wrapped-up Christmas gift. Climb inside and you’ll find a mini snowy wonderland with wishing trees, Alice in Wonderland-like ‘Eat Me’ and ‘Drink Me’ treats, and screenings of a specially commissioned short film by Bruce Weber. Oh, and then there’s the ballerina and the WIZARD.

This year, a Selfridges spokesperson told Steerpike:

We felt a different direction was needed for 2013.


Santa has been downgraded to a roaming personal shopper who ‘advises customers on the perfect, and personalised presents.’

But another insider told The Spectator columnist:

the store’s international clientele aren’t bothered about Christmas so the space required to recreate Lapland is no longer economically viable.

From what I have observed in and around the store as well as Oxford Street in general, this is because the big spenders are often those from non-Christian backgrounds.

That and CRB check headaches are my hypotheses, anyway.

Yes, Santa Claus might be a 1930s invention by the Coca-Cola Company. However, he has a real life precedent in Saint Nicholas, whose feast day is December 6. ‘Claus’ is a diminutive of ‘Nicholas’.

For the Dutch the feast of Sinterklaas is a bigger day for children’s presents than Christmas Day itself. It is also, thanks to them, still celebrated in the United States — and possibly elsewhere — with a small treat (e.g. chocolate bar) placed in a shoe or stocking as a foretaste of marvellous presents to come.

2 comments for “Selfridges and Santa’s grotto

  1. Viscount Rectum
    November 9, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Why should a heathen State like Britain celebrate the birth of the son of God, acceptance of homosexual marriage as law putting it above the higher law, the Conservatives will pay for the insult to God.

  2. November 9, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    TPTB are gradually exterminating Bonfire Night too, what with elf n safety fascism and a fear of offending papists.

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