Harrods ignites Christmas controversy

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Harrods ignites Christmas controversy

By Marianne Wilson - 11/12/2019

Harrods isn’t generating much holiday love this year.

The iconic London department store, one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions, ignited a firestorm of criticism by officially limiting appointments to visit its “Christmas Grotto,” home of Santa, only to its biggest spenders: families that spent over $2,500 at the retailer during 2019. The 170-year-old Harrods is owned by the billionaire Qatari royal family.

“Each year, we are overwhelmed by requests for this special experience, which we make every effort to facilitate,” a Harrods spokesperson said in report by The Guardian. “We care hugely about making a visit to the Grotto as magical as possible, and tickets are extremely limited due to the number of slots we can facilitate in-store. Unfortunately, we simply cannot meet the demand for places.”

According to The Guardian, Harrods is also allowing160 families who haven't spent $2,500 at the store to visit the Christmas Grotto, representing about 3.6% of the expected visitors. Tickets to the Grotto — even for the big spenders — are about $25 per child.  

Harrods noted on its website that the Grotto is fully booked for this year.

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