Child 'traumatised' by shopping centre's reindeer decoration in Christmas grotto

24 November 2017, 09:53

A shopping centre has apologised and pulled a reindeer decoration from its Christmas grotto after a "mortified" child asked whether it had been killed.

Mother Adele Keen forced the removal of the decoration - a plastic reindeer head mounted on a wall - from the festive attraction at The Mall shopping centre in Maidstone, Kent, after complaining on social media.

KentOnline reports that her son had been left "traumatised" and even asked whether Santa "had killed his reindeer".

She added: "I tried to move on quickly so he was not too scared and his Christmas reindeer beliefs weren't crushed."

Another less than impressed shopper tweeted that the display was "inappropriate".

But although the shopping centre has taken the decoration down, it said it had been put up to complement the fundraising grotto's medieval theme.

Marketing manager Suzie Brindle told Sky News: "Each year the grotto features a different theme and this year is medieval castle and the plastic deer's head formed part of this.

"Having heard that the display was causing concern, we took steps to remove the decoration after opening hours which complies with health and safety regulations. We apologise for any upset caused."

The shopping centre's annual Christmas grotto has raised more than £200,000 for various charities, and other visitors have been less than impressed by the need to alter the attraction just over a week after it opened.

One woman posted on The Mall's Facebook page: "She doesn't need to shatter his dreams, but take parental responsibility for explaining it rationally. Insisting it is taken down is a sign of the daft PC society we live in."