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How to Build Santa’s Workshop

Bring Santa’s Workshop to life for your office Christmas party, parade float or home Christmas decorations. 

Every child – and inner-child – dreams of gaining access to Santa’s Workshop. Make those dreams come true this Christmas by setting up your very own Santa’s Workshop at your home or office; the workshop will make a perfect theme for your Christmas party or a great addition to your Christmas lights display.

Elves in Santa's Workshop - How to Build Santa's Workshop
Elves in Santa’s Workshop

How to Build Santa’s Workshop

These ideas should provide a launch pad for building your own Santa’s Workshop, however, the most important thing is that you stay true to your own imagination and create the workshop you’ve always envisaged.

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Putting the “Workshop” in “Santa’s Workshop

Setting the scene for Santa’s Workshop is the most important thing to start with. If it’s not clear that you’re trying to recreate Santa’s Workshop, your display could end up looking like a freshly looted toy shop.

Begin with a workbench in the center of your space – an old wooden table bought from an op-shop would do the job splendidly. If your workbench is in near-new condition give it a worn look by taking to it with a sander, a few “splashes” of paint or glue and a hammer. Remember, Santa and his elves have been using this bench for hundreds of years, so it’s likely to have sustained a bit of wear and tear.

Add some other workshop items to your space to continue the theme. Some items you may like to include are:

  • A shadow board with a few tools hanging from it
  • Jars of nails, screws, nuts, and bolts glued by their lids to the underside of your workbench
  • Blueprints or instruction manuals
  • Craft items such as paints, sewing threads, and embellishments

If people will be moving about your display, use toy tools and craft items instead of the real thing. This will help prevent injury and keep the workshop looking elf-friendly.

The Mail Room in Santa's Workshop
The Mail Room in Santa’s Workshop

Adding a Christmas Theme to Santa’s Workshop

Now that it’s obvious your space is functioning as a workshop, you can start adding Christmas decorations and Santa-specific items to the display.

It wouldn’t be a Christmas theme without a Christmas tree – so add one to the back of your space and decorate it with handmade decorations that look as though they could have been whipped up on the workbench when the elves had some spare time.

Alternatively, if you’ll be using Santa’s Workshop as a party theme, hang edible decorations such as gingerbread, popcorn, and candy on the tree for your guests to pick at during the festivities.

Hang other Christmas items around your space such as:

  • Christmas lights and candles
  • Mistletoe and holly
  • Tinsel
  • Christmas cards
  • Stockings with guest’s names written on them

You may also like to include a Naughty and Nice list somewhere in the display. Print names on a roll of wide receipt paper or butcher’s paper and drape it across the room; or cover large boxes in Christmas wrapping paper, add “Naughty” and “Nice” labels and stack them somewhere in your space.

Naughty and Nice lists in Santa's Workshop
Naughty and Nice lists in Santa’s Workshop

Bringing Santa’s Workshop to Life

No Santa’s Workshop would be complete without toys and moving parts. To finish your Santa’s Workshop display, add some toys such as teddy bears, trucks and water pistols to your space – stack them in boxes or Santa sacks, hang them on the walls or place them under the tree.

For an interactive feel, add some visually interesting features such as:

  • A wrapping station, complete with rolls of paper, sticky tape, ribbons, and different sized scissors
  • A working train set
  • Snow globes
  • Lava lamps
  • A rocking horse
  • A Christmas countdown
  • A mailroom featuring letters addressed to Santa, replies to be sent out and writing tools

People won’t be able to resist playing with these items, and will really feel as though they’ve stumbled into Santa’s Workshop.

If you’ll be entertaining within your Santa’s Workshop, be sure to set the space up so that is functional – you’ll want to be able to place food on the workbench or stacks of “Naughty and Nice” boxes and people shouldn’t be tripping over toys as they mingle.

Don’t be limited by the suggestions provided here. Rather, make a list or draw a sketch of how you imagine Santa’s Workshop to be and bring it to life.

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