I can remember the first time we visited Father Christmas with the children, it was Matilda’s 2nd Christmas and we thought it would be one of those perfect parenting moments. She’d be enchanted by all the pretty lights and Christmas activities and then sit with Father Christmas and chat about what she wanted for Christmas. The reality was a child who cried when they saw Father Christmas and refused to go anywhere near him or his grotto so we took our free present and left. Since then things have got a better and I think we’re reaching peak excitement about Father Christmas before she gets a little older and starts to hear rumblings about whether he’s real or not. So when Wyevale invited us to meet Father Christmas over breakfast at our local Wyevale garden centre (he was stopping by to buy some carrot seeds) I jumped at the chance.
As we all know Father Christmas gets around the country and you can meet him in many places these days from the classic school fayre to a restored steam train and who knows what else in between. But I really quite enjoyed meeting him over breakfast; it’s quite a relaxed and civilised environment that doesn’t involve queuing or crowds and with the garden centre not open for business it was lovely and quiet. Plus of course it meant I could eat a cooked breakfast and drink coffee while the children met Father Christmas, perfect!
We (Matilda, Henry and I) were the first family to arrive (not that we were eager or anything) and settled down at our table in the corner of the restaurant. The children love a place mat you can colour in and were quickly focused on making the best ever pictures. Matilda provided lots of useful guidance as ever about colouring in the lines and choosing the right colours, advice that Henry duly ignored as normal. I think this was the first day of these events at our Garden Centre and you could tell that the elves were a little rusty with the process and certainly weren’t the happiest elves in Lapland, a few smiles wouldn’t have hurt. Minor issue though and the children certainly didn’t notice.
It took a little while for our food to arrive but we were happy enough speculating about how Father Christmas would get there (his sleigh obviously) and where he would leave his reindeer while talking to us. Every time we heard a noise the children asked if that was him coming. The food was good, although my two being such hungry little things stole some of my breakfast as their kids version wasn’t quite enough. If I do a cooked breakfast at home they’ll eat 5 scrambled eggs between them no problem, plus most of a tin of beans and a sausage each!
After the food they were given a snowman biscuit to decorate which they loved, the little piping bags were perfect for them and they had lots of fun squeezing different patterns onto their plates. It also meant they stopped asking every 2 minutes when Father Christmas was coming. Thankfully he made an appearance shortly after so I could have a little peace to finish my coffee. He spent a little bit of time at each table chatting to each child and then sat down while they came up in turn to get their present.
As he came to our table Matilda looked over and whispered to me “you talk to him daddy I’m a bit scared”, I thought that was it, all that time and then she was going to go shy on me again. I was just about to open my mouth and tell Father Christmas about the 2 of them when all of a sudden Matilda started telling him all about her, how old she was, what she’d been doing that morning/week and I don’t think she stopped for about 3 minutes. Bless her, a little shy to begin with but once she’s feeling confident there really is no stopping her.
With the present choosing done and the obligatory photo with Father Christmas taken he lead us on a little walk through the garden centre which the children thought was fantastic. I’ve put a short video below from the walk because while Father Christmas was very lovely and great with the Children he may also have been the campest Father Christmas I’ve ever met. The children were oblivious obviously but it kept me amused at least.
We had a lovely morning at Wyevale and I would definitely recommend it as a relaxed way to meet Father Christmas. You can also have tea with him if you prefer but personally I liked doing it first thing in the morning and my children are definitely better in the morning for these sort of things. We finished off a good morning by buying our Christmas tree on the way home and also posting our letters to Father Christmas. Christmas is most definitely happening in this house now!
Disclosure – Wyevale paid for the 3 of us to attend our local garden centre to meet Father Christmas, but all words and opinions here are all mine.