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Mum launches 'Black Santa's Grotto' to improve Christmas diversity

A woman who was sick of the lack of diversity in Christmas imagery launched a Black Santa’s Grotto so children of colour could see themselves reflected.

Charlotte Lewis founded Noir Kringle ‘The Black Santa’s Grotto Experience’ in 2018, because she wanted to see better representation at Christmas time.

The grotto experience allows children to meet a Santa Clause who is Black in a magical vintage grotto. The workshop tour included making Mrs Kringle’s secret reindeer feed, writing a letter to Santa and the choice to give it to him in person or post it, followed by a meet and greet session and a photo with the man in red.

The grotto was a sell-out success in it’s first year, but sadly, thanks to Covid the experience can’t go ahead in person this year.

However, in lieu of seeing Black Santa himself, the team are offering personalised letters and magic keys to our customers. And they are already planning a big return for Christmas 2021.

‘This idea came about because I’d spent some time  after the birth of my daughter trying to find a business, company or organisation that offered the experience or opportunity to visit a Black Santa’s grotto,’ Charlotte tells Metro.co.uk. 

‘Unfortunately my findings were disappointing and were limited to the US. This inspired me to create a magical experiential event for not only her, but also for other children to see more than just one representation of this much loved character, as I believe representation really does matter.’

Charlotte says it is so important to have more diverse representation at Christmas so that Black heritage can be reflected in society.

‘It plays a big part in building positive, assertive, proud members of future society,’ says Charlotte.

‘Black people must be present and reflected, even in fictional characters, in order to make this change in the way our children view themselves.

‘It is crucial to broadening children’s imagination with such magical thinking that are reflections of themselves.

‘It is important that they are being exposed to a broad range of experiences that are familiar that feel like home or unfamiliar that they can learn from.

‘However, this event is for all children to see more than just one representation of this much-loved character, not only Black children.’

The feedback to the Black Santa’s Grotto has been phenomenal, and other parents have shared their children’s delight on social media.

‘”I didn’t know Santa could be brown”,’ one woman said her daughter told her after the visit.

‘Melody loved the book reading, letter writing, reindeer feed and meeting Black Santa. But most of all Mrs Kringle she’s still talking about you #behindeverygoodman #blacksantamatters.’

‘Thank you @NoirKringle for showing our son a christmas that looked like him. Black Santa, Mrs Kringle, black elves. #representationmatters,’ added another parent.

‘My daughter and her cousins were so happy to see a Black Santa and elves,’ added another.

‘She said she didn’t know there was a Black Santa and was so happy as he will go to the kids in Africa. She said she didn’t know she could be an elf. #representationmatters you have provided a service we will never forget,’

Charlotte is hoping that Black Santa’s Grotto can return with a bang next year.

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