This year is the first year that Mr D has had any sort of understanding of Christmas and all that it entails. It is fair to say that, since our Christmas tree went up, he has been fit to explode!
This morning we headed to our local Wyevale Garden Centre for Breakfast with Father Christmas. The breakfast was booked for 09:30 and we arrived at around 09:15 and were excited to see the tables all marked out with names. We found our table and the children were thrilled to find the activity page and Christmas crackers as well as a bag of chocolate coins each.
Father Christmas’ helper, Bumble the Elf, soon headed round to welcome us and to see if the children would like a drink and once all the guests had arrived the breakfasts were served up. There had been a choice of a full English, a vegetarian full English or a pastry and coffee. I’m not a fan of cooked breakfasts so I opted for the pastry and coffee, my mum had the full English and the children had the vegetarian version. Father Christmas’ helpers were excellent making sure that the children and parents all had drinks (I had a large cup of coffee and my mum a pot of tea) and they were busy bringing around the food.
The food was all fresh and hot (but the children’s wasn’t too hot – which was excellent as it meant they could get stuck in straight away). I was offered a choice of pastries and was told I could have as many as I liked; just let them know if I wanted anymore.
The children’s meal consisted of toast, baked beams, scrambled egg and has browns (and they had a little bit of my croissant too). My mum had the full English and there was a lot of food there and she said it was really nice and cooked well.
It was a really lovely relaxed atmosphere and lots of staff on hand to get additional drinks if we wanted them and to top up the children’s drinks if needed. I did worry that there was a bit of a risk that with so many young children who are excited as it’s Christmas week that it might descend into a bit of organised chaos but it didn’t. The children were actually much better behaved than some of the adults who were present!
After the breakfast the children were all invited by Bumble the Elf to come to the front to get ready to shout for Father Christmas. Father Christmas had got a bit lost on his way so after a round of Jingle Bells and lots and lots of shouting for Father Christmas the main man made his way in. Mr D wasn’t sure if he was going to cry or not, but after a reassuring hug he was fine. We were invited back to our tables and Bumble the Elf called the children up to go and speak to Father Christmas.
At this point the staff brought out a plate complete with Christmas tree shaped biscuit, a small piping bag and sprinkles and mini smarties to decorate the biscuit with – a stroke of genius as it kept the children occupied at a time when there was real potential for the children to get restless.
We were called up to go and speak to Father Christmas. When asked what they’d like, Mr D replied with ‘Goodnight Digger Book’ and Father Christmas and Bumble had a discussion and noted down to put that on the sledge. Miss E simply shouted ‘book’. After a chat about how Father Christmas would come to the house, ‘Do I need a special key or do you have a chimney?’ and a request for hot chocolate to be left out for his drink the children were invited to take a gift.
There were two display stands with a wide range of toys. There was a knights dressing up kit, a large fire engine, art kits (complete with pencils, paints etc) a mermaid doll, and all sorts of stuff. My only minor criticism is that the two stands were split into Boys and Girls. To be fair when Father Christmas and Bumble the Elf asked them to choose a toy they said have a look at both sides and didn’t direct the children to the relevant gender.
Anyhow, Miss E chose a paint by numbers set and Mr D chose a set of cars – which they’re both thrilled with.
The morning was lovely and we spent the best part of two hours there. The meeting with Father Christmas wasn’t rushed in the slightest and the staff were all really helpful and very engaging with the children.
We will be visiting again in 2016 I am sure as we had such a wonderful morning there and it was a lovely way to capture the magic of Christmas for the children.
To find your local Wyevale Garden Centre take a look at their website.
The children and I were invited to join Father Christmas for breakfast. All words, images and opinions are my own.