Monday 4 December 2017
As a child, is there anything more exciting at Christmas than meeting Father Christmas? We saw him at many a school bazaar, shopping precinct (back when it was Chapel High, not the Baytree Centre!) and even on a steam train at Colne Valley Railway... my, that man gets around! Anyway, it wasn’t me that was seeing him this time around; it was Alfie’s first visit – yes, even at 11 weeks old! We’d been to Centre: MK the past few Mondays and it was something we were always going to do, even if he didn’t understand it or get as involved as the other children.
The ticket was £8.50 – a lot more expensive than the couple of pounds my parents paid when I was a child. It was cheaper in November, but the price is also increasing throughout December, up until Christmas Eve – the last day to visit. I think then, it reaches about £10. It wasn’t just a quick visit into Santa’s Grotto though; this was the North Pole experience!
Our tickets were for 2:40pm and we made our way to the ‘North Pole’ with a group of other children and their mummys and daddys. We took our seats on a bench and met a lovely elf called Twinkle Toes, along with her chubby sidekick, Bauble. She told us about the reindeers and the newest addition, baby Norbert, who we eventually met – after luring him out of his home with a rendition of Jingle Bells. Unfortunately, Norbert was just a puppet and not a real deer, as I was expecting. After stroking his shiny hoofs and seeing his antlers light up, it was time to exchange our bells for bags and it was time to make reindeer food – ready to sprinkle on the lawn, mantelpiece or hearth, ready for Santa and the reindeers’ arrival on Christmas Eve. And then it was time to meet the man himself...
Like I say, Alfie had no idea what was going on, but was such a good boy and didn’t cry. We told Father Christmas that Alfie has been very well behaved for the 11 weeks he’s been in our lives and Santa agreed, he deserved a present this year. We then had this lovely photo taken... I say lovely, look at Alfie’s face! And look at the unfortunate positioning of my hand. Still, it’s a nice memory of Alfie’s first Christmas and will be something I put in his treasure box to look back on.
We also paid an additional £2 each to ride the Christmas train and did this after visiting the grotto. I enjoyed it, but think the price should have been included in the original ticket – you only go round once and you’re not on the train for any more than five minutes.
It’s all worth checking out if you’re at Centre: MK. The whole experience is situated by John Lewis. There’s a giant snow globe to have your photo taken in too, along with some little stalls selling cheese, candy floss and other delights.
Love, Lucy xx