Think Will Ferrell in Elf, you know the scene when he screams ‘Santa’ as he hears those magic words…
Ok people tomorrow morning, 10am, Santa is coming
This is the moment he hears that Santa will be arriving at Gimbles department store. That is Our Little Family.
Both Mr H and I have this overwhelming excitement for not only the big day but the run up to Christmas. Our planning starts pretty much after Lil G’s birthday which is at the end of June. We LOVE Christmas.
With presents bought for our little boy by October, all that is left to do is prepare the house (eek) and well, get excited (double eek). Our attention soon turns to how we are going to spend our weekends in December. The key is to be prepared and have these things booked in advance. Even as I write this post (12th Nov) I know of so many events where days are already SOLD OUT! Some events are on sale by March and others it is October or the beginning of November. You must move quick.
I thought I would share with you Our Little Family Top Ten festive events to take your little ones to in Manchester and Staffordshire…
1) Santa Train at Amerton Farm, Stafford – General admission and parking is free. A really cute Train which takes you along a track, but guess what, Santa is waiting for you at the end, waving his big black glove at you ready to embark and spread some festive cheer. The children get a gift and the adults something warm to drink!
2) Meet Santa at Trentham Gardens, Stoke on Trent – The best Santa you will EVER meet. Mrs Claus also joins him in his little house. If you are not a believer (shrieks) you will be once you meet this fella… Truly magical
3) Churnet Valley Railway Santa Express, Cheddleton – Staffordshire’s own Polar Express. This trip was rather magical. A combination of us travelling at 4pm which meant it was dark, a steam train which resembled the Polar Express or something from Harry Potter. An hour long trip complete with on board entertainers, a little warm treat for the adults and a super toy and of course a chance for your child to say hello to the big fella himself.
4) Copious visits to Trentham Gardens (Stoke on Trent) and 5) Bridgemere Garden Centre (Cheshire). A little shopping for us, a lot of fun for Lil G. These centres both have beautiful displays with a magical feel about them. The staff are on hand to make your visit enjoyable. What’s great about these places is that if you are a little short on funds then they are free to enter and you can just wander and enjoy the festive areas. Due to the size of both Centres a family could be entertained for a number of hours. With restaurants, children’s play areas and of course the gardens themselves there is so much to do.
You can also visit the Snow Globe at Bridgemere (£7.50) which enables you to transform yourself into a bubble of snowy fun. You receive one picture as part of the experience. We found this little gem last year and couldn’t help but return a few days ago to kick off our Festive fun. Such fun…
6) Breakfast with Santa at Bridgemere Garden Centre – A scrummy breakfast, a ticketed event so you are sure to receive plenty of time and attention. We had our own little Elf moment last year when we had Breakfast with Santa. It was one of those hold back the tears moments. The excitement that came over Lil G’s face and the sheer amazement at seeing Santa walking towards him…
7) Santa’s Sleepover at Alton Towers, Alton – Spectacular. You have 2 full days, a sleepover, an evening meal, breakfast and of course entry for 2 days to the park and waterpark. Value for money without a doubt. Santa will even pop a little letter under your room door for your little one to read as you wake! Just how did Santa know where you were, how? If you can’t manage the full 2 days due to the cost element then there is the option to visit for one day and have a Santa’s Lunch special where you have lunch as well as entry to the theme park and waterpark and a whole host of other fun is available.
8) Winter Wonderland at the Snowdome, Tamworth – If you are looking for a snowy wonderland where you can dress in your winter woolies, your boots, pop on your hat & scarf then this is the place to be. It is as cold as it is when the beautiful white fluffy, sparkling snow graces us with it’s present (fingers crossed). You spend the first 30 mins sledging, travelling around the area, up and down slides, throwing snowballs and generally have a white Christmas fun filled time. You then move into a story telling room which really grabbed Lil G’s attention. Finally moving into a farm area with so much more to explore. EPIC.
9) Christmas Markets, Manchester – a MUST. Need I say more? What with all the stalls laden with hot chocolate, delicious food, mulled wine and all the chocolate and cheese you can eat. There are a number of events children can get involved in as well as the adults like Ice Skating and the Helter Skelter. I do hope the Helter Skelter returns this year. We particularly enjoyed visiting the Oast House in Spinningfields where Lil G met Santa in the fairy lit tee pee and we enjoyed mulled cider. Ooh I can taste it now. Delicious.
And lastly a little old family tradition of mine…
10) Christmas Movie time at your local Cinema – Watching a Christmas movie with a box of popcorn before returning home to settle down before the big man arrives! Good times.
I hope that my little list has helped you to think about some events to take your little ones too. All of them are highly recommended. Watch this space for my ‘What we’re doing this year’ post which will be live in the coming days.
Spreading Christmas cheer for all to