My girl was afraid Santa wouldn’t get in because we don’t have a chimney – you’ll never guess how I calmed her fears

A CREATIVE dad saved Christmas by constructing an elaborate fake fireplace – after his daughter kept asking "how Santa was going to get in" as they don't have a chimney.

James Priest said he was compelled to begin making the structure so his eight-year-old daughter Thea was still able to tell pals that Father Christmas visited them down the chimney.


The 35-year-old spent a week crafting an incredibly life-like faux fireplace out of wood and dressing it up in brick wallpaper and even a log pile "burning" over LED lights to create a cosy centrepiece for the living room.

The dad-of-two had to make the DIY task a yearly tradition in a bid to "keep the magic going" at Christmas since making one out of cardboard boxes covered in grey faux brickwork last year.

However the warehouse manager admits he's not sure how he'll top this year's edition, as he went one step further by dismantling crates and using the wood to construct an ornate wooden structure that now features a fire grate with realistic flames.

James, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, said: "Thea had kept asking how Santa was going to get in, when we didn't have a chimney. It was something she kept asking about, because she'd seen from the old films that Santa came down the chimney.

"So I said to her I'd make her a fireplace last year and I did.

"She was really chuffed when it was finished. She knew it was a fake fireplace, but we said it was by magic that Santa would be able to come through it.

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"The fireplace really has the effect of making it feel like it's Christmas, and that's another reason why I did it. I just wanted it to feel really Christmassy.

"We used to say that Santa had a magic key to come in through the front door, but it's just nice that she gets to say 'Santa came down the chimney last night'.

"This year, I wanted to keep the magic going. My partner's mum saw a fake fireplace made out of pallets and sent it to me saying 'Do you reckon you could make one like this, this year?'

"I said, 'Well, I can give it a go'. It'd be a bit of a challenge.

"It's definitely something I'm going to do next year, though I'm not sure how I can upgrade it from this year's, unless I'm making it out of metal or something.

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"When you stand in front of it, it looks really good. I'm pretty impressed with myself, I've got to admit."

By sourcing most of the material from work, James managed to pull the living room centrepiece together for only £20.

James said: "I got the wood from work; I just broke it apart and used it to make the fireplace. They were originally wine crates that were now going spare.

"It turned out better than I thought, to be fair. I spent about a week working on it, putting a few hours in here and there. Had some days off from work, and worked at it for a couple of hours on those days.

"I love doing DIY, I really enjoy making stuff. I freestyle it – I'll get a picture in my head and make it based off that.

"I bought some varnish for the wood and some wallpaper to create the brick effect. The fire effect was just some LED lights I got off Amazon for a tenner.

"I only spent £20 overall on the fireplace."


For more festive news, this mum is spending £15k on her kids this Christmas – she claims they get bullied because of her so they deserve it.

And you've been wrapping your Christmas presents all wrong – here's how you should be doing it.

Plus this savvy mum decorated her Christmas tree in just five minutes thanks to cling film trick, but not everyone was a fan.

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