It seems far too early to be even thinking the word ‘Santa’ but time does pass so quickly at the moment. I cannot believe that Thomas is 15 weeks already – the realisation that I should’ve found him a nursery place by now is kicking in, bringing a healthy dose of panic, which is only heightened by the depressing thought of having to return to work!  It seems a long time until next summer but with Christmas looming already, I know it will be here in the blink of an eye.

My initial plans for the weekend had been to attend an event at the Portrait Gallery, but after a disrupted night sleep and waking up to yet more rain, the idea of getting all the kids across town for 10 really did not appeal. After hearing of Friday’s events in Paris, we were certainly in a sombre mood and then the inclination to stay in, safe from the world ‘out there’ was tempting.

To a certain extent terrorism and the stupidity of groups like ISIS have become so frequent in the news, that sometimes it is possible to detach from it. Many of my friends on Facebook have been quick to draw attention to the attacks on the Russian jet liner and in Beirut, questioning why those events have not drawn the same attention. Whilst I think this is a fair point, Paris is not ‘foreign’ to us. Going out to dinner, or to a football match are regular events for us, things that are easy to identify with and the idea that this could so easily be destroyed is chilling.

In a way, it felt wrong to be contemplating something as joyful as Christmas. I also thought the idea of going to a Santa Parade was actually insane too – it would be crowded, noisy and probably pretty tacky. However, we would be going to join the crowds in the safety of our city – how sad to think that the people of Paris may feel they cannot go out with the same freedom.

So it was with an air of determination that we set out to our local shopping centre to an event that promised ‘acrobatic elves, sparkling Snow Queens and Fairies, giant snowmen and of course, Santa!’

Pipe band

We were pleasantly surprised on arrival to hear the noise of a full pipe band drifting through the noise of shoppers. Shortly after we arrived though they disappeared leaving the crowd to wait.

The parade was meant to start at 2pm and by 10 past, nothing had appeared. This wasn’t so bad but Ben grew bored very quickly and when Katie was shoved out of her spot by a larger group, she too was pretty restless.

Spying a lot more space on the top floor, we decided to move up away from Santa’s sleigh on the theory that we would at least be able to see something. I was so glad we did!

As luck would have it, the parade appeared on the top level and went straight past where we were standing led by the full pipe band. Katie was absolutely dumbstruck as Santa walked past less than a meter away and gave her a special wave!

Santa parage

The parade was actually much better than I thought, the ‘Snow Queens’ were dressed up well and there was a very cool guy doing tricks with a glass ball (Jack Frost maybe?). The giant snowman on stilts was impressive and the guy in the big elf suit creepy as expected.

Snow queen in Santa parade

The thing that threw me a little was the inclusion of ‘cheeky santa girls’ at the end of the parade – decked out in high heels, fishnet tights and very small, revealing dresses. Whilst I wasn’t offended by girls in, let’s be honest, not a lot, I thought this element was pretty weird for a family event. My only thought was that they could be there for babies who like booby milk!

Katie really did have the most amazing time and even Ben couldn’t fail to be impressed by the acrobatic elves. I’d definitely attend this event on another year and way well check out the Stockbridge event that promise real reindeer – anyone want to join?

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