FAMILIES can now Zoom Father Christmas and his reindeer in a virtual Santa's Grotto.

During the first three weekends of December, families can pay a virtual visit to Santa’s grotto with everything you would expect from an in-person meet and greet – including a cameo from Rudolph – but without leaving the house.

Father Christmas' video call visit is part of a partnership between Virgin Media and disability equality charity, Scope.

It comes as new research reveals that 60 per cent of parents aren’t planning to take kids to a grotto this year, with almost a third of those skipping a trip to see Santa because they would feel safer staying at home.

Santa’s helpers have put special measures in place to ensure disabled families and those who are shielding don’t miss out on the opportunity of meeting the main man either.

A poll of disabled parents also revealed that of those who aren’t attending a grotto this year, nearly one in five say that in-person grotto experiences aren’t accessible for their children.

As a result, Virgin Media is providing a sign language interpreter and an audio descriptor to ensure as many families as possible can enjoy the magic of meeting Santa virtually.

What to do to secure a spot with Santa 

To secure a slot in Santa’s busy schedule, families need to complete an online form, which goes live on November 20.

A selection of video calls reserved for Virgin Media customers. 

Parents are encouraged to provide their child’s Christmas wish list in advance and as well as any fun facts about their kids to make the meeting extra special.

When entry closes on November 23 at 11.59pm, virtual visits to the North Pole will be awarded at random – regardless of who has been naughty or nice.

Santa’s elves will then book in sessions during the three weekends before Christmas, starting December 5.  

Every child that meets Santa will be sent a free reindeer soft toy of their own, complete with a red shiny nose.

Cilesta Van Doorn from Virgin Media said “When we can’t be together in person, we need to be creative and find new ways to enjoy the festivities while connecting with loved ones online.

"After an extraordinary year, Christmas couldn’t come soon enough and we’ve had lots of fun ensuring Santa and his elves have all the tech they need for the ultimate virtual grotto experience.

“We want to make sure the experience is accessible for as many families as possible and have worked with our friends at Scope to ensure that it’s a truly magical encounter for everyone as they take a virtual visit to Lapland from their laptop.”

Mark Hodgkinson, chief executive at disability equality charity Scope, said: “Christmas should be a magical time of the year for all families. But things can be a lot tougher for disabled families.

“These families often face barriers to joining in with activities and opportunities. This shouldn't be the case. There are 14 million disabled people in the UK.

“We were delighted to work with Virgin Media and to increase the accessibility of their grotto, and are pleased to put them in touch with disabled families.

“We wish all families that take part the best of luck, and those that are successful in the draw a wonderful time. They might be able to take an ‘elfie’ or two.”

Anyone looking to register should head over to https://www.virginmedia.com/virgin-tv-edit/tv/santa-virtual-grotto on November 20.