Throughout the year as you know, we’ve headed over to The Centre Livingston for various family days out – so recently we returned for a spot of Christmas shopping but also to drop in to see Santa.
As we walked through The Centre, the kids saw the big Christmas tree from a long way off. They remembered it from the previous year and knew that ‘Santa was back.’ As we joined the short queue, they looked up at the light and talked about the toys they had received last Christmas. Every so often, elves would appear – dancing and chatting with the kids – so the 10 minutes or so we were waiting passed very quickly.
When we reached the front of the line, one of the elves spoke to both Thomas and Katie finding out their names, how old they were, whether they were going to leave something for Santa this Christmas, the things they enjoyed doing – loads of little things – mixed in with Christmas chat about reindeers, favourite songs etc. Initially Thomas was quite shy, but soon warmed up with chat about trains and fire engines.
After a while the elf went to ‘see if Santa was ready’ and funnily enough, as the kids went in Santa greeted them both by name and exclaimed that he really couldn’t believe that Thomas was a ‘big three year-old boy already’. He asked Katie how primary two was going and thanked her for leaving milk and cookies the previous year!
Katie can be quite savvy on occasion but there was nothing about meeting Santa that wasn’t ‘real’ for a second. Both kids were able to tell Santa what they would like this year, but I also loved that Santa tempered Kate’s request with a bit of reality. Her first idea was that she would like a ‘bouncy castle or a LOL doll.’ Santa pointed out that LOL dolls were a popular request for this year but wondered if she would also just like to receive a surprise?
Thomas – who has been watching Caillou’s Holiday Movie since July – still really was very shy. He still was able to tell Santa he wanted a fire station AND fire engine and cracked a few smiles. But typically would glare as soon as I tried to take photos. So yes – he does look rather serious/suspicious – but he actually had a great time.
We didn’t spend long with Santa but it was the perfect start to this Christmas for the kids. It wasn’t a sleigh ride, covered in snow, or a journey to anywhere exotic. But it was a personal interaction that meant something to them.
As for the logistics – you can prebook for a specific time slot and you don’t have to queue. You can add lots of details to your booking if you’d like Santa to talk about specifics. My kids wanted to know how he’d get in our house without a chimney – he has a special key. But you don’t have to book – we just joined the line which was short but may be longer closer to Christmas. Tickets are non-refundable but it’s only £3 per child – although you can purchase photos and things like key chains afterwards. My kids have already unwrapped their gifts – Thomas received a toy car and Katie a sticker book – both were delighted.
After visiting Santa, we took the kids to Soft play at Aerial Adventures so Mike and I could enjoy a coffee (and sneaky bit of cake) whilst the kids ran off some energy. It’s quite a vast Soft play so it was a good hour before they were demanding lunch – which gave me a chance to pick up some Christmas gifts whilst Mike watched them!
There’s a great range of places to eat at The Centre, but we opted to Wagamama on this occasion as it’s was Ben’s choice this time around! Although he’s a lot better than he was a small child, he’s still probably the fussiest eater out of the three so it’s so good to have a place he’ll happily choose any number of dishes. I also really appreciate their commitment to being very clear exactly what is in food. I’ve been avoiding gluten and dairy recently and it’s so refreshing to have somewhere that just is ok with that. They don’t blink and just whip out all the information you could dream of.
If you have any more questions about our visit to Santa please do get in touch. The Centre have details about how to book to see Father Christmasand a great FAQsection too. This is a sponsored post but as always – all views, thoughts and opinions are my own!