Anger at sale of tickets to visit Santa's Grotto at popular venue near Luton - 9 MONTHS ahead of Christmas

Shopping Village criticised over decision to promote Santa attraction 'way too early and before Easter bunny has been'

By Olga Norford
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 4:22 pm

Parents have reacted angrily to a decision by The Olde Watermill Shopping Village at Barton-le-Clay to sell tickets to visit Santa's Grotto - NINE months ahead of Christmas and before the Easter bunny has put in an appearance.

The popular venue announced it would be selling tickets to visit Santa's Grotto on Tuesday (29/3), with a statement on its Facebook page stating: "After numerous enquiries regarding the release of our Santa's Grotto 2022 tickets, we are excited to announce that tickets will be on sale soon. Watch this space."

However parents have reacted with fury with the company's Facebook page attracting nearly 300, mostly negative comments.

The Olde Watermill Shopping Village at Barton announced it would be selling tickets to visit Santa's Grotto on Tuesday (29/3)

What's your view on the early ticket sales? Email [email protected].

Natalia Reynolds, a mum of two, contacted us to say: "I think the Watermill and other venues are doing it because Lapland UK, which is in Surrey, have put their tickets on sale.

"To my knowledge tickets have always gone on sale in September. However I went online last September and all the tickets had been sold. It's madness. It's irresponsible retailing and fuelling this crazy demand culture when it should be a fun experience that families look forward ahead of Christmas instead of creating panic buying in Spring."

One of the comments on the The Olde Watermill Shopping Village Facebook page, stated: "Ridiculous. If this was posted Friday it would be more believable. April Fool's. Should be ashamed."

Santa (achive image)

Other comments included: "How sad is this. I love Xmas but this is too early."

> "It's March!!! The Easter bunny hasn't even been yet."

> "Absolute madness we are not even properly in spring yet and Santa tickets are on sale. OMG get a grip please let us have summer first please."

> "Please don't do this Olde Watermill... It's enough to give people anxiety. No idea why everyone is selling the tickets this early, but please don't follow suit, it's stressful and just not necessary."

> "Put me right off. I always came here for my kids' Christmas experience as I thought you were different. I’m not ready for Christmas or even thinking about it in March/April."

Another parent alluded to the insensitivity of selling tickets so early given the current financial squeeze on families, commenting: "Absolute joke!!! So for those families who are already worrying about how they will manage their bills as of next month, you are also putting extra pressure on them to feel like they must book now, otherwise everywhere will be booked up come the time we would all be purchasing tickets normally."

Another echoed those sentiments: "Let families enjoy Easter first. As it is they are asking families to part with their hard earned cash when the cost of living is soaring.

And others responded with disbelief: "Absolute jokers!! Everyone seems be doing this early nowadays. Sad because then by Christmas everywhere booked up . Funny way the world works these days. I’m still getting over last Christmas."

> "Jeez! October is early enough!

> "Why is everyone doing it so early? I can only assume to have the money earlier. It's ridiculously too early and puts such pressure on people."

> "Let families enjoy Easter first. As it is they are asking families to part with their hard earned cash when cost of living is soaring."

The Luton News contacted The Olde Watermill Shopping Village at Barton-le-Clay and is awaiting a response.

The company isn't the only one locally to start selling its grotto experience so early, with Frosts at Woburn Sands launching its tickets sales on Tuesday (March 29).