What's the Cost to Build Your Own Santa's Grotto in 2020? | Checkatrade
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Cost to build your own Santa’s grotto

It’s that time of year again. Soon, the mistletoe will be hung, the fairy lights will be strung and Santa’s grottos will open their doors to welcome children hoping to meet the big man himself.

But according to The Times, the cost of going to a Santa’s grotto has soared in recent years. In fact, between 2016 and 2019, costs rose by a whopping 35%.

Plus, as we all attempt to stay home more in 2020, it makes sense to go that little bit further in our own Christmas preparations to make this year feel special.

So, why not avoid the price hikes and really get into the festive spirit by bringing the grotto experience straight to your own door? Here, we’ll take a look at exactly how much it would cost to build your own Santa’s grotto.

Cost provided itemUnitCost (lower range)Cost (higher range)Average
Cover the floor with white artificial grassPer room£175£500£340
Snowmaker machinePer machine£150£650£400
Install electricity (in a shed or garage)Per install£200£400£200
Rig festive lights outdoorsPer install£50£10,000£100
Install a fireplacePer fireplace£200£4,000£1,000
Get the room wallpaperedPer room£250£500£375
Buy a sleighPer sleigh£700£4,000£1,500
Install a postboxPer postbox£50£250£150

Where to start

First things first, you’ll need to find a suitable space for your Santa’s grotto. In an ideal world, this would be somewhere with electricity (or somewhere where you can easily install it) so that you can truly make an impact.

A shed, garage or workshop would be perfect. Or, to make life easier, you could even transform a room inside your house.

Make it winter

There’s nothing like a bit of snow to bring out those North Pole feels.

You can get hold of white ‘artificial grass’ for around £7 per m2, which is a great way to achieve a frosty look for a lower price tag. To cover a small shed or room, you’re looking at a total cost of around £175. Or for a larger room, you could spend up to £500.

If you really want to level up the snowy experience, you could even add a snow machine. This will add another £150 to £650 to your budget but it will certainly add some impact.

Other wintery touches that won’t set you back so much include inflatable snowmen and artificial trees covered in snow.

Make it cosy

Cost to build your own Santa's grotto

We think Santa deserves a warm and cosy grotto to match his sunny personality. So, why not put up wallpaper featuring cosy prints like reindeer or fair isle knit patterns? Expect to pay around £375 to get the whole room wallpapered.

A fireplace is also a must. You’re looking at around £200 for a fake wood fire effect electric heater or up to £4,000 for a full wood fire burner with relevant chimneys, extracts and sign-offs.

Make it sparkle

Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without some magical lighting to suit. So, make sure to add fairy lights both indoors and outdoors. You can purchase outdoor lights for as little as £50 but if you’re after a large, professional-looking installation you could spend as much as £10,000.

This may involve adding some additional electrical points. To take electricity to an integral garage, you’ll be looking at half a day’s work for an electrician, costing around £200. Or, to take electrics to a detached garage, you’re likely to spend around £400.

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Capture the magic of Christmas

Once you’ve got the basics installed, don’t forget to use your imagination to truly make the space come alive. Here are just a few ideas:

Cost to build your own Santa's grotto

  • Get a joiner to make you a sleigh to sit at the entrance.
  • Install a postbox for children to post their letters to Santa.
  • Add finishing touches like reindeer footprints across the floor.
  • Create a ‘good list’ and ‘naughty list’ to display on the wall.
  • Wrap up some cardboard boxes to look like Christmas presents.
  • Put up some framed photos of Santa and Mrs Claus.
  • Hang up some stockings by the fireplace.

Cost to build your own Santa’s grotto final tips

  • Think about where you can store large items (like Santa’s sleigh) for the rest of the year.
  • Electrical points outdoors, in garages and in sheds can be very useful all year round.
  • Check the measurements when buying products online (you’ll want a human-sized sleigh and postbox as opposed to toys).
  • Consider what you’ll use the space for during the rest of the year (you may not want Christmassy wallpaper up all year round).
  • For a truly professional look, consider employing a Christmas decoration specialist.

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