Our Christmas preparation usually starts in mid-December. I have a December birthday and, when I was younger, our Christmas tree and preparations always started a day or so after my birthday, and it’s something I’ve continued to do as I’ve got older.
However, the children, Daniel and Emma in particular, are absolutely desperate to crack on with all things Christmas, so by way of concession, we have been doing little bits and pieces for them. This year, Emma has asked Santa for a pedal bike. Harry doesn’t really know what he wants, and Daniel has asked for a surprise.
Of course, Christmas time with children means a visit to Santa, and when it’s done well, there really is something utterly magical about it. Daniel and Emma (and Harry) still ‘believe’ in the magic of Christmas, and I hope it stays that way for a few years to come but when you have a child who is on the cusp of discovering the truth, when a visit is done well it can convince them to believe in the magic for just a little bit longer.
Over the last couple of years, we have done breakfast with Father Christmas at the local Wyevale Garden Centre, and it’s been absolutely fantastic, and worth every penny. The children (and Damian and I ) have enjoyed it and it’s just been a really fantastic way to spend an hour or so. This year, Wyevale invited the children to visit their Santa’s Grotto, and that’s where we went today.
Wyevale Garden Centre certainly makes Christmas feel very special, and when we arrived the children loved looking at the scenes as we went in; the Polar Bears and the Penguins were a big hit with all three of them! We were a little early so we had a walk around the store to take a look at the displays and the decorations. The garden centre has such a huge range of items – everything from baubles and tinsel (much to the children’s delight) to larger decorations such as reindeers, penguins and a rather beautiful unicorn. There are plenty of lights and the such to choose from as well as some beautiful tableware and serving plates, to add that festive touch to the dinner table.
There are also plenty of stocking fillers to choose from, and we did spot a few things that we might head back for at some point to get for friends and family.
We had a good look around the store and then headed back to the grotto for our allotted time to see Santa. The Grotto is really well done, with a lovely moving donkey outside that the children were quite taken with, (which of course allowed me the opportunity of channelling my inner Mary) as well as some fawns (although Harry kept calling them dogs!).
Santa’s elves were, of course, on hand to check us in and once Santa was ready for us we went into his grotto. It’s really well done out and is very Christmassy; lots of decorations (that the elves have been busy making), as well as lovely tree and fairy lights, lighting up the grotto. Santa knew who the children were, and welcomed them by name – something that was most impressive to them! Santa was fantastic talking to the children, asking them where they lived (and showing some local knowledge by knowing where our road was). He asked the children their ages and took interest in the things they mentioned. He also displayed a rather impressive knowledge of Peppa Pig which was quite fun!.
We weren’t rushed at any stage and Santa did a wonderful job of coaxing Emma out of her quiet self – she can sometimes get a bit overwhelmed and cling to Damian or I. He remarked on her Princess dress that she was wearing and took great interest in the children when they told him about the nativity that they are taking part in later this week. He asked the children if they could perhaps leave a mince pie and a glass of milk out for him, and maybe something for the reindeers, to which Daniel and Emma, wide-eyed, told him they always leave out a carrot.
After some more conversation with Santa, he invited the children to choose a toy to take with them. Harry chose a wind-up train set, Emma chose a mermaid soft toy and Daniel chose a magnet making set. It was then time for pictures and high fives with Santa before asking him for those items that they would like to find this year under the tree.
It really was a fantastic visit, and one that the children will remember and I am sure recount to their wider family and friends over the coming weeks.
Wyevale Garden Centres offer a fantastic range of things to do this Christmas, be it choosing out new decorations, picking up gifts and stocking fillers or making that all important trip to see Santa. We have loved the breakfast with Santa that we have done in previous years (and I’m a bit sad we didn’t book it this year but we have plenty of other things to do instead) and the visit to Santa’s grotto was a fantastic way to start our festive preparations. All in all, it was the perfect way to begin the Christmas festivities this year.
The children were invited to visit Santa in his Grotto at our local Wyevale Garden Centre in Marple in exchange for this review. The children were genuinely enthralled by Santa and we loved the whole thing,