It’s really part of the Christmas season isn’t it? Seeing the big ‘Santy C’ as Tom Fletcher calls him in the Christmasaurus.
We’ve been to a few places over the years to see the main man. We’ve been to the usual shopping centre or a farm, last year we went to a the Kirklees Light Railway and then there was the year we went down a mine… that was interesting.
This year – we were invited to try seeing Santa somewhere we’ve never been before. We were invited to have ‘Tea with Santa‘ at our local Wyevale Garden Centre. We took two little people with us who were very excited, as you can see.
We also took Grandma Big Hair – but she wasn’t excited enough to jump up and down by the ‘Santa’s Grotto’ sign.
The Wyevale Garden Centre isn’t new to us, we’ve been before, it has the most beautiful range of Christmas tree baubles and we do love a yearly trip to buy a new bauble. I have to be honest though – it’s not somewhere I’d considered going to see the big red man. So we went to give it a try…
The first thing I loved was that the staff were so welcoming. We had a little table all to ourselves and they’d done us a welcome Christmas card. Cute!
They were lovely with the kids and had taken the time to welcome them by name – that was such a personal touch. It must be so hard working during the Christmas season and seeing hundreds of children, but they were enthusiastic and welcoming. It definitely enhanced the experience.
Tea with Santa does exactly what it says on the tin – you get fed. Anyone that knows me well knows I love food, so this was an important part of the experience. The kids were easily pleased with sausages and chicken nuggets and we were treated to Afternoon Tea.
I do love a spot of afternoon tea – it makes me feel like a ‘grown up’. Sipping tea from cups and nibbling on finger sandwiches. These were awesome sandwiches – turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce – yes! I always want more savory things on an afternoon tea – just looking at two layers of dessert makes my teeth ache.
But… there were little pots of jam. I have always been a fan of little, adorable pots of jam. So much so I think I may have taken one or two from hotels at least once in my life. The scones were delicious and then there were macaroons, mince pies and perfectly pink meringues. Holly and Jack were more than happy to help us polish off the dessert layers.
I really liked how the event was catered for the kids. The staff were so caring and really took the time to talk to the children, offering them more juice, getting down to their level and planning things like story time before the ‘big man’ himself arrived.
The Christmas season is one of my favourite times of year. There are certain key moments I love, singing carols, the Christmas play, buying our tree and most of all, seeing the look on Holly’s face when she sees Father Christmas again for the first time in a year. She still believes – very much believes. Who knows how long that will last? So, for now I’m the parent sat there on the sidelines grinning like an idiot – full of Christmas cheer. I love seeing her eyes light up with the wonder of it all.
Each family were taken to see Santa individually, which was a nice touch. It made you feel like you had the time to really have a conversation with him. Holly & Jack were the oldest children there so we volunteered to go last. While we were waiting for all of the other children to see Santa, the staff provided gingerbread men for the children to decorate. This was SUCH a good idea – it was great for keeping them entertained and happy, the wait was gone in no time.
Plus, we had two amazingly decorated gingerbread men and two children high as kites after devouring sprinkles and whole tubes icing (don’t tell Jack’s mum!!).
You know what’s coming next. The man himself – we went in to see Father Christmas! Well, he was a particularly good one. He had a lovely gruff voice and welcomed Holly & Jack in with open arms. He took the time to talk to Jack about the red racing car he would like and about his mummy having a baby. Jack chose a lovely stuffed wolf as a gift.
Holly has decided she would like a Candy Floss maker this year (sorry teeth!), and Father Christmas was very supportive of her decision. He told her you can get lots of different types of sugar to make candy floss different colours – top tip. Holly chose a lovely stuffed penguin, which she went for FC’s suggestion and named Ivy. Holly & Ivy – what a combo!
All good so far, well, it sounds silly… but one of the things I didn’t like was the lighting. Garden centre lighting is so harsh and fluorescent. Seeing Santa is supposed to be cosy and twinkly. I found myself looking around for a dimmer switch. I mean, bright light is much better for photos, but it robs a little bit of the Christmassy magic doesn’t it?
Other than my finicky needs over lighting it was a lovely experience.
We were at the garden centre for about two hours in total. The experience costs £10 per child and £8 an adult. With food included it makes it a lovely evening and I felt it was good value for money.
After all, how much is it worth not having to go down a mine to see Santy C.
A lot I’d say!
*We were invited to go to Wyevale Garden centre and have tea with Santa free of charge. However, all thoughts and opinions are our own.