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Santa Claus is coming to town. But this one might not be as jolly as all those Christmas cards have led you to expect…

Old Fire Station, Clifford Street

Dec 9-11 and 16-18 @ 11am-4pm and 5pm-9pm

Adults: £5; under 12s: £105…

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This Santa has swapped his ‘ho, ho, ho’ for a harrumph, his plush red suit for mucky brown cords and his happy helpers for some distinctly miserable elves.

Moving in to what is described as “one of the best worst grottos to ever come to York”, he will be found in the Old Fire Station from Friday (December 9).

Unsuitable for children, but entertaining for adults, this new take on Father Christmas is an installation that promises to be a festively fitting last event before the Old Fire Station before most of the building is demolished.

Christmas – Banksy style

Creative duo Phil Dodsworth and Phil Grainger are the masterminds behind the project, likening their spoof Santa grotto to Dismaland, created by Banksy not so long ago.

A cheaper alternative to many more jolly Christmas grottos, the two Phils have put together a winter wonderland. Just without the wonderland…

Phil D said: “We wanted to put the fun and humour back into Christmas and remind people that Christmas is for adults too.”

What to expect

Forget twinkly lights and colourful decorations, this is Santa without the trimmings.

His sack is a bin bag that Mrs Claus has bought from the shop around the corner and the well known all red suit has been replaced by a brown corduroy jacket and trousers, white vest and for the slight bit of Christmas cheer, a red neckerchief.

Most of the activities at the event are a closely-guarded secret, but there are a few clues as to what people can expect.

You can visit Grottoland Post Office and write a letter to Santa. Help his miserable elves prepare for the big day, visit the Grottoland penguin colony and marvel at Snowman City.

This twist on the Santa’s grotto may not be your typical festive experience – but it does look set to spread some Christmas cheer.

Mark Peat

Mark Peat

Currently a third year undergraduate at York St John University studying music production, Mark is making use of his passion and enjoyment for music, journalism and writing for YorkMix

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