Last night was THE night that I finally got to see the wonder and magic of Christmas through my own child’s eyes. It’s been a moment I’ve been looking forward to, well before the arrival of ThriftyBaby. I didn’t think I could enjoy Christmas any more than I already do but last night took my breath away.
We had kindly been contacted by Flemingate Shopping Centre to attend the preview night of the opening of Santa’s Grotto and provide a review in exchange for our visit. Getting to meet Santa for the first time is a momentous occasion for any child but to do it as a VIP was extra special.
We had been told the theme was Winter Wonderland so warned to wrap up warm and glad we did as we had a little wait outside before the doors opened for the big reveal. The grotto is located just near Costa and Starbucks so lots of people had grabbed themselves warm drinks for the queue but we were soon on the move.
Inside there was a wonderful brass band playing christmas carols on the balcony of a winter wonderland castle. ThriftyBaby was transfixed by the sound of the band playing and the snow machine making flurries towards him. Mince pies, biscuits and Bucks Fizz were lovingly laid out for guests on red and white Scandi table cloths too.
The grotto is a huge space and will cater really nicely for families as the entrance and walk ways are plenty wide enough for even a double pram and there is picnic bench seating for a pit stop after seeing the big guy himself. It was quite dark in the grotto other than the twinkly lights but my iPhone hopefully pics up the feel for the place?
Once the band had finished the Voices of Market Weighton choir sang more carols and we all joined in. There was a really lovely community atmosphere in the grotto and think this is down to the specially made set which is nice and tasteful (no horrific animatronics!) and the elves were really friendly and helpful.
There is a huge range of stores now at the Flemingate Shopping Centre and they’re planning on holding even more events in the New Year. I’m an especially huge fan of The Entertainer who are one of the key stores there and we were able to have a pic between their giant candy canes! (And by the way it’s not actually cold in there at all thankfully!)
We were then hushed for quiet and told to look out for Santa…could we spot him? Yes! There he was making his grand appearance on the balcony of the castle! He then came down to say hello to all the children and cut the ribbon on the entrance way.
Then is was our turn to meet Santa! We entered through the curtained doorway and walked through a short passage (at this point we left the pram by the doorway with a helpful elf who kept an eye on it). Fortunately NotSoThriftyDad was there to carry ThriftyBaby for me as that’s too much for me now (31 weeks pregnant!).
Santa welcomed us into his grotto where there were beautiful christmas trees, a cosy fireplace and big bags of toys. He quickly pointed out that surely ThriftyBaby hadn’t been around long enough to get him on the “Naughty List” yet…I’m not so sure about that some days haha! But he plonked ThriftyBaby onto his knee and told him to continue to be good for his mummy and daddy.
ThriftyBaby received his gift, NotSoThriftyDad got given a sweet cone and we had another family photo with Santa before being guided out by yet another helpful elf.
A prize Christmas Trail also launches at Flemingate on Saturday this week, when visitors can collect festive clues from shops and restaurants at the popular centre. Once all the clues are collected, you will need to decipher a coded message for a chance to win a family hamper of gifts and five runners-up prizes. This is a lovely thrifty activity to take part in with all the family.
The Christmas Trail will run until midnight on Thursday, December 22. Entry forms are available at Flemingate’s stores and the winner will be drawn on Friday, December 23.
Tickets cost £5 to meet Santa, including a Christmas gift – available in advance at www.flemingate.co.uk or at the grotto. Check the website for grotto opening times. Call 01482 320088 for group discount details.
If you go to see Santa at this grotto let me know what you think!