Hello from me, Ed Elf. My Christmas Grotto is a great place for me to sit and work out things I want to do this Christmas. It’s where I get inspired. How about you get inspired with me? Playing with our new toys is fantastic. But there is so much more to do. Let this giant illuminated Santa point you the way.

grotto cinderella panto_140480617Pantomime

Pantos are a tradition in the UK and can be the best fun. It’s brilliant how you can join in with the people on stage and shout things at them or sing along with them. Get ready with phrases like: “He’s behind you!” My numero uno, top of the list, best above best is Cinderella. Making a coach out of a pumpkin – how cool is that? There’s a character in it called Buttons. He’s not in any fairytale I ever read, but he’s in the panto. I’ve picked my top 10 favourite pantomimes for you. If you can’t  see one this year, then maybe next.edelf


1 – Cinderella – ugly sisters, wicked stepmother, fairy godmother, a pumpkin that becomes a coach and that glass slipper.

2 – Jack and the Beanstalk – beans means trouble for Jack – but a golden goose saves his bacon.

3 – Aladdin – more rags to riches…bit like Cinders…but here genie magic does the trick.

4 – Sleeping Beauty – I like a long nap but this is ridiculous. Hurrah for the handsome prince arriving to wake her up.

5 – Snow White and the Seven Dwarves – wicked stepmother strikes again – this time with an apple. But you don’t get rid of Snow White that easily.

6 – Peter Pan – the boy who never grew up and his flights of fancy in Neverland with Wendy and the clan.

7 – Dick Whittington – it’s a long road to becoming London Mayor. Good job he’s got a cat for company.

8 – Mother Goose – all things fairytale thrown in to the pot with a sprinkling of rhyme.

9 – Beauty and the Beast – tame the beast and your prince will come. Not as easy as Belle hoped, but then that’s the drama of it all.

10 – Puss in Boots – the best cats in town are wearing leather. Purr-fect entertainment.


Christingle services take place in the build-up to Christmas and put the focus on children. Christingle means ‘Christ Light’ and started in Germany more than 250 years ago. It is most enjoyable to prepare the Christingle itself using an orange, some red ribbon or tape, a candle and dried fruits or sweets. More details on how you make it, and on the service itself, are on my Christingle page right here in my Grotto section.


Visit Father Christmas

It is one thing to write to Father Christmas with your Christmas list, it is another thing altogether to tell him in person. So if you can get a grown-up to take you to see him at a store or shopping mall near you, you are one step closer to making sure you receive the presents you want. Say hello from me if you can see him, by the way.

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Take Unwanted Toys to a Charity Shop

To make room for the new toys you have asked for, maybe you need to create a bit of space at home. If you have some toys or games that never get played with, it is a real shame. There is someone out there who will give them a happy home. Toys just want to be played with. Arrange with the kind grown-ups in your life to take you to a charity shop to donate your unwanted toys, when it is safe to do so. Not the broken ones, though.

Learn Global Traditions

Countries around the world have different traditions from the UK. We have many of them on our Global Traditions page. Read about them and then choose one you would like you and your family to try this Christmas. Once you have read about Pooping Logs in Spain, I bet you’ll want one. Here they are…cute little things. They poop sweets.

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Shop for a Special Tree Decoration

Start an annual tradition with your parents, grandparents or aunts and uncles by shopping together – in person or online – for a special decoration just for you to hang on your tree. Have your photograph taken with the new decoration when you get it and print it. Start an album and write underneath the photo where you bought the decoration, who chose it with you and the date. Do this every year. This way, you’ll have a great collection of decorations when you’re grown up and a brilliant book of memories.


View Christmas Lights

Have a grown-up take you for a walk around your neighbourhood to see the twinkling Christmas Lights on houses and in gardens. Make sure you wrap up against the cold. If you live in a place where there are not many houses to view, perhaps you can be taken to a local city centre to see the lights there instead, as long as it is safe to do so. You might even meet a snowman or two.

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Random Acts of Kindness Day

Christmas is a great time to think of others and not just about you and your wish list. Why not have a day sprinkled with acts of random kindness. Write some ideas on small pieces of paper, fold them up and put them in a small bowl. Have family, friends and neighbours pick out one of the papers. Whatever it says on the paper, you must do for them. Here are some ideas: vacuum the carpet; dust the living room; sweep the patio; wash the car; walk the dog; wash the dog; empty the rubbish bins; draw a Christmas picture; make a Christmas card; tidy your room.

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Do you like playing sport? Maybe you prefer watching it? Either way, why not think about getting a grown-up to take you to a sporting event and make it one of your presents from them. Then, you can wrap up warm and go to cheer your local team – even if it’s not a famous team in a big ground – or stay indoors and watch horses showjumping…or whatever excites you.