Monday, 8 December 2014

I met Father Christmas at Hamleys....

For me, Christmas is all about making the magic happen for the girlies. Whilst they were younger, we explored local places to see Santa. We thought we found a lovely garden centre, and returned year after year, but last year.... I did have to complain. The Father Christmas was a youngster and showed no interest in the girls, and with J at the age where it should be so alive, I was not impressed. We made the decision not to return. We have also done multiple visits in one year too to different places, so Grandma and Grandad M could participate too. Going to stately homes, which were over priced, and we were just a number, picking which lucky Santa would greet us behind the curtains... This is not the magic im looking for.
This year, when we planned our trip to London, I looked into going to Hamley's to see Santa, we decided against it in the end, as thought the time would be too tight, but we realised the Manchester one did it too. And it sounded great!!
It was more expensive then the garden centres, but the promise was so much more too. A hot dinner was included, stories with Father Christmas, sing songs and writing lists. We knew Hamley's would keep to their word, so paid up, knowing if it wasn't good, we wouldn't do it again. So here is our Dinner with Father Christmas at Hamley's in Manchester....
We were told to arrive 5 minutes before our time, and meet on the big star at the front of the store. Once we arrived, more children came out too... then the elves came to greet us. They came with bubble guns which the girls were happy with whilst we waited for the other children, and the paper work checked.

Once the children all had the sticker badges on, Papa Elf emerged saying Father Christmas wasn't coming. He got no reaction from the 16 children, so he said it again. Suddenly S started crying... full on. A quick cuddle and reassurance that he will phone him to get him to come, and the tears stopped.

Tear-y face
Papa Elf phoned the North Pole on a special phone, and Father Christmas was already on his way...

The elves then got the children to sing Christmas songs as we walked up to the party room, causing a lot of excitement in store. Once at the party room door, Papa elf had to use some very special magic dust to make it open... and woolah we were in... as with a few extras who followed in, they were politely asked where their badges were, and then they realised it was a paid for event, and quickly left. The paper work stated 1 adult per 1 child due to space, and I fully understand why. Each event caters for 16 children, the room would be too crowded for the magic to happen.
The room was beautifully decorated with luxury looking trees, wreaths and garlands, and the other walls had picture scenes on. It had two tables laid up with Christmas table cloths for the children, and a corner was especially for Father Christmas, with a special rug for the children. It sure is the WOW factor as you walk in. Which makes the magic so much easier to find... J's face says it all... so natural, and such a big smile.... S just took it all in, looking around at everything.
After sitting down and talking some health and safety done 'Elf' style and still lots of fun, it was time for food. I was amazed at how much food they were getting. Even the older children would be full up.
Whilst the children were eating, the elves, were interacting with the children, and the parents... Papa Elfs hat fell down for the millionth time again, and he thought daddy was Santa... showed J the picture, and she thinks they look like they are about to kiss.... Teehee....
Papa Elf did so well at entertaining all the children, there was a spread from about 2years to about 10 years approx., and all were engrossed. Some were louder then others, like J who could not stop laughing, and others were like S who sat taking it all in, and saving the smiles for the really special moments. A little while in after the children had a good go at dinner, we had the special arrival of Father Christmas, J looked like she would pop when she saw who walked through the door....
After he came around and greeted the children at the tables, he made his way to his corner for story time....
Between Father Christmas and Papa Elf.... the story kept the children laughing, and listening... and we now know the secret to how Father Christmas gets around the world in one night! The pair of them really knew the story inside and out, making it sound like it really did happen.

After story time, it was time to go back to the tables and write a list, this list was a special list as it goes straight into Santa's head...  then it was time to go up one by one to tell him exactly what they want. The magic between J and Father Christmas is so special, and I think this photo captured it, I couldn't have posed it better, but it was all natural... all in the magic, and I don't think I will ever get another one like it.

 S was a little more nervous so Daddy went with her. This is a huge step for S, she is usually screaming or cowering away from "the big red man."

He soon got her animated, and a smile spread across her face when he read out the first item on the list... "Pinkypie" from my little pony. (Unfortunately its only been in the past 2 weeks that she has said she has wanted this, so she will have to wait a little longer for that one....)
I don't think she still knows how to feel about Father Christmas, but she knows if she is good, he will bring presents, hence the awkward face she is pulling on her photo... one to remember...
Whilst the other children were having their special time with Santa, the elves did well at entertaining the kids, and trying to encourage the quieter ones too. Which was lovely to see.

...and the bubble guns came out again too....

...and Papa Elf showed the children a very special item that Santa once gave him... and its pure "magic" it disappears at the drop of a book.... literally...
It was then time for one more story with Father Christmas, he was full of enthusiasm and energy, and he sure did want to be there. Followed by a little present for each child.

J went up to Thank Father Christmas for the bag of goodies, and ended up with a huge hug.... just perfect. Afterwards as she walked away, all the other children copied, who doesn't want to give Father Christmas a big hug, when he gives the child almost everything they ever ask for?
So that was our finale to Dinner with Father Christmas. All what was left was to find out what present he got the girlies. They each got a I met Father Christmas bag filled with various items. S's face again made me laugh, all I said was smile...

So the goodies.... the girls were spoilt, they each got their own Hamley bear, a HUGE chocolate gold coin, a Hamleys Santa Christmas tree decoration, a colouring in/sticker book and crayons.

The bears were an instant hit with the girlies, even keeping hold whilst the new decorations went on the tree.
And how did we finish the night?? Well when we arrived home, our own elves, had left an "I Believe" bell for each girl.... and yes, they all rang very loud for us a to hear....
 So was Hamley's I met Father Christmas (In Manchester) worth £25 per child? YES!!! You could tell instantly that everything was quality, the staff were more like actors, the food, huge variety, decorations made it WOW, and the story line flowed. The presents to take home were even quality. We will certainly be looking to go back again next year. This visit isn't all about meeting Father Christmas though, Papa Elf needs to take a lot of credit too. He led the Christmas songs and story lines, and help create the magic even more.
Well Done Hamley's, Father Christmas, and the Elves.
This is not a sponsored post, we paid for this experience, and think it was worth shouting out for all parents to hear, so they can help keep the magic alive. It sure is worth it.

Binky Linky


  1. Awe that's amazing will be defo going maybe not this yr but definitely next yr. Sounds amazing

  2. OMG he looks like such a good santa! A shame about the hiccup at the beginning though, eek no santa! x

  3. That seems such good fun!! I used to work in a hotel and we did this... one of the kitchen porter dressed up as Santa and it was so cute seeing all the kids get all excited!!


  4. Aw I bet she loved it, sounds cute!

  5. This looks so wonderful! I'm sure the girls will remember it for years to come and it's well worth spending a little extra for something so magical!

  6. Oh wow this looks fab. I will definitely look into this for next year. Thanks for linking up to #TinselTuesdays

  7. Wow that sounds like it was an amazing experience and I just love your photos - the looks on your girls' faces is just beautiful - really captures the magic of Christmas and seeing Father Christmas x

  8. How lovely! We haven't met Father Christmas this year yet, but we are looking forward to it! :)

  9. It sounds fantastic and well worth the money x #binkylinky

  10. Lovely photos! I love your daughters' expressions! So adorable =) #binkylinky

  11. That Santa looks so good! I wanted to take my twins to Hamleys, but it was so expensive for twins. We're taking them to a garden centre one which looks quite good. It'll be there first proper time they see Santa. Thanks for linking up to the #BinkyLinky


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