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16.12.11

Trip To See Santa: Take Two

You may have seen my previous post about our unsuccessful trip to see Santa on Saturday.
Although Charles didn't seem particularly bothered, due to us thinking up an excuse for Santa not being able to see him on the Saturday, we still felt we needed to take him to see Santa and have that experience.

So Sunday morning, we changed plans we'd already made to fit in a last minute trip to another Garden Centre.
We drove there and as we got Charles out of the car he shouted "Father Christmas! My here! My here!" We desperately hoped Father Christmas was there as I didn't think we'd be able to think of another excuse.
We knew our way around this garden centre anyway but thankfully it was well signposted for those who didn't know where the Christmas section was. This was something the other garden centre failed to do.
Also well indicated was the specific till to purchase the ticket to visit the Grotto.
So far, so good.
We were greeted by a cheery member of staff and handed over our £3.50. She spoke to Charles about Father Christmas and acknowledged Harry too which made me happy already.
So far, so good.
Charles skipped to the Grotto.
"My seeing Father Christmas! My excited! My excited!"
He shouted as he skipped.
We reached the Grotto and noticed a small queue. There was only 5 or 6 families ahead of us so we knew we didn't really have long to wait.
Except every now and then Charles would hear a deep voice bellow "ho ho ho! Merry Christmas" from behind the red velvet curtain.
His eyes would light up and then "my need to see him! My need to see Father Christmas"
And he would attempt to run off.
At one point he was able to run fast enough to get to the curtain but I managed to grab him just before he made his way through.
Then....tears.
We were able to distract him and the tears stopped. Then the family in front of us were instructed to enter through the red curtain. As the curtain opened we saw him and Charles squealed!
"Its Father Christmas! Its Father Christmas! My saw him! My saw him!"
Then the curtain closed.
And the tears started and fell down his soft cheeks.
"My want to see Father Christmas"
The Elf came out from behind the curtain and handed Charles a chocolate coin.
"This is from Father Christmas for being such a good boy whilst you wait".
I could've kissed her!
With that Charles stopped crying. Mostly out of confusion as he looked at what had been handed to him.
"Money? Chocolate? Money? Chocolate?"
Then we heard the bellow of "ho ho ho! Merry Christmas" as Santa said goodbye to children before us.
It was our turn to go.
"Quick untuck his wellies from his trousers. Get the chocolate off of his face. Get rid of the tuft in his hair".
I felt as if we were meeting the Queen.
In we went.
And from there it seems like such a blur. Totally caught up in the whirlwind of adrenaline and make believe soaked into the atmosphere from these amazing children.
Charles bypassed Father Christmas and headed straight to the Christmas Tree in the corner. I think he was expecting his train to be there.
We were able to get him to stand near Santa and tell him what he's like for Christmas.
"What would you like then young man? Thomas The Tank Engine? Postman Pat? Fireman Sam? Bob The Builder?" asked Father Christmas.
"He's not really into those anymore" we said. "He's really into Toy Story. Woody and Buzz"
"Oh you like Buzzy do you?" Was the reply. Has Father Christmas not seen Toy Story or know who Buzz Lightyear is?! We chuckled.
As rehearsed Charles asked for his present and included accessories we hadn't discussed previously.
"I'd like a train please, with a bridge and a track" (the bridge was the one we hadn't heard before, thankfully his Brio set has one)
And then he carried on.
"A boat. And a rocket. A blue rocket Father Christmas. A bike"
Then his attention was taken as he spotted the fireplace.

"So, will you be leaving me out a mince pie and some milk please?" Father Christmas asked.
"Well, we thought you'd like a Whiskey?" My husband replied.
"Oh no no no. I can't be drunk and in charge of Rudolf. Just a milk will do thank you"
"Are you sure you don't want a Whiskey?" My husband almost pleaded.
"I guess it could warm me up but no. Milk will be fine"
"We'll leave you one out anyway" my husband ended.

Then Charles was offered a sweet and handed a present from Father Christmas. Which he was about to open there and then.
"Now be a good boy. Be good for your mum and dad. Go to bed early on Christmas Eve. Ho ho ho. Merry Christmas"
And with that we left the Grotto all with smiles on our faces...except for Harry who missed his first Father Christmas experience after falling asleep as we were about to walk in the Grotto.

So, a happy boy, happy parents, a great experience. A brilliant toy which I would've paid £5 for in a shop if I'd seen it!
A much better experience than the first time.

If you are in this area. Avoid Highway Garden and Leisure and instead visit Cherry Lane Garden Centre in Fritton.