It’ll be tough to cuddle up to Santa this year.
After all, he’s old and fat, so he’s a risk – and he drives too fast anyway.
But one woman sick of it being a white Christmas has launched a black Santa’s Grotto to change the image of Yuletide.
Charlotte Lewis, from the Aylesbury Estate in Walworth, founded Noir Kringle – The Black Santa’s Grotto Experience – to give children the opportunity to meet a Father Christmas who is black in a magical vintage grotto.
The grotto was a success last year, but thanks to Covid the experience can’t go ahead in person this year – last year families made feed for Mrs Kringle’s secret reindeer, wrote to Santa and took selfies with the man himself.
This year, there will still be letters and magic keys to its customers.
Charlotte said: “I was compelled to act on the lack of inclusion and diversity at Christmastime.
“There has been an alarming number of incidents of overt racism online around inclusion at Christmas. The response from some mainstream organisations has been positive in standing up to racism.
“I hope that this support continues and more companies will feature black and minority narratives in their practices.”
Last year’s event at East street market came about because she had tried to find somewhere offering the chance to visit a black Santa’s grotto for her baby daughter. But the only ones available were in the USA.
“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,” she said. “It was wonderful to receive such positive feedback last year.”
Evan on Twitter said: “’Thank you @NoirKringle for showing our son a Father Christmas that looked like him. Black Santa, Mrs Kringle, black elves. #representationmatters.”
Another on Instagram said: “’A massive thank you to the lovely team @noirkringle my daughter and her cousins were so happy to see a black Santa and elves. She said she didn’t know there was a black Santa.”
Next year Charlotte hopes to be back to Noir Kringle’s Christmas Grotto with the traditional presents, stockings, elves and Mrs Kringle.
To South Londoners, Black Santa Matters.
Pictured top: Back row, from left, Karl Brown, Stephney Bent and Charlotte Lewis. Front row, from left, Bliss Moukoko and Ismael Sadiq.
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