With all the Christmas excitement in the air there nothing more that will get you into the spirit of things than meeting the big man himself so Mr A was over the moon when we were invited to meet Santa at Hamleys in Cardiff.
I was to be honest a little apprehensive about how the experience would pan out, simply because Mr A is at the age he is starting to question things, he wants to believe but equally cannot be fooled easily. Last year we went to a amazing grotto at a hotel with biscuit decorating, card writing and real reindeers which he really enjoyed but when it came to actually meeting Santa the Santa in question must of not been more than 35yrs old and had a very high pitched voice, he was not convinced (none of us were) and came out very despondent and declared to us straight away that was not the "real" Santa even though we had never discussed the legitimacy of Santa before. Luckily that was not the case at Hamleys.
When we arrived we were greeted by three happy and enthusiastic Elves who got everyone singing and dancing and in the mood with fun games before entering Santa's living room. Once we made our way to the back of the store and opened up the room all the children eyes widened at the sight of the fireplace and presents. Before the big man made his appearance they were treated to some snacks, squash and a spot of colouring in. Then the singing and countdown began and the doors swung open and it was Santa and this time I am happy to say a far more realistic looking one. The kids all had been given name tags right at the beginning of the session so he addressed everyone by name making it feel more personal and real. They sat down for story time of The Gruffalo before playing a few more games and making cards for friends, family, Santa or in Mr A's case Rudolph
Each child then had the chance to have some one to one time with Santa and to let them know what was on their wish list. Then Santa handed over each child a little bag of goodies, containing a beautiful Hamleys teddy bear, A reindeer tree decoration, a bar of chocolate and a full size set of Hamleys crayons and Christmas colouring book - I have the say the quality of the goody bag was impressive and Mr A loved it.
The whole experience took just over an hour and costs £25 and includes games, festive singing, food, crafts, meeting Santa and the goodie bag and I have to say tat if your looking for something a bit more interactive and entertaining this is a great choice as we all found it a lot of fun, even Baby G was intrigued (not scared like most babies are) of the big red man and I think the relaxed environment helped that.
This year as with last we have made an Advent Calendar - they are super simple to put together - we just used small coin envelopes and thought I would share what we are putting in ours if your still looking to do the same - in no particular order
1. Christmas craft session with friends
2. Go to the cinema to watch a Disney film
3. Buy a real tree and decorate it
4. Visit the grandparents
5. Visit a local Christmas fair
6. Christmas party with friends
7. Make chocolate brownies
8. Go to a theatre show
9. Make mince pies
10. Go out for a luxury hot chocolate
11. Make a gingerbread house
12. Craft some paper chains
13. Make and post Christmas Cards
14. Watch Polar Express
15. Watch the Snowman and Snowdog
16. Post letter to Santa
17. Read a festive Christmas story
18. Visit Winter wonderland
19. Go on a special train ride
20. Listen to Christmas Carols
21. Give a toy to someone else in need
22. Make fruit and nut chocolate balls as presents
23. Have a silly day wearing Christmas Jumpers
24. Go on a long wintery walk trying to spot Elves