Between the years of 1998 and 2005
we had a tradition of taking the children up to
Harrods in London on Christmas Eve
to visit Father Christmas.
This was the REAL Father Christmas,
as opposed his many look-alike helpers
to be found in supermarkets, garden centres
and shopping centres.
In those days we simply turned up, prepared
to queue for hours (but we're
British so we're good at queuing) and we
were well entertained by loads of elves
who also gave out bottles of water and cookies
(and one particularly memorable year when they
handed out whistling lollies - that tested my
goodwill to all men I can tell you!).
I think you have to book to see Father Christmas now.
As we got near to Father Christmas' Grotto
we were herded into small groups and escorted
by elves into a tunnel in which
there were gorgeous tableaux featuring
scenes from a little story, different every year,
often including Father Christmas' toy making factory.
In my Grand Decluttering last month
I found all the photos we had taken
and it was lovely to see how Luke and Hope
changed over the years
(as did Father Christmas!).
Luke will be especially overjoyed (NOT!)
that I've found them.
|(Here we have 'Dead-Eye Santa' with Hope, age 2, sucking her |
thumb and holding onto her comfort tee-shirt, while
Luke, age 4, looks a little unsure - he'd probably just been given
the 'stay away from strangers' chat!).
|(Both children looking as pleased as punch!|
That was Hope's 'photo face' for many months.
Lovely FC that year)
|(Best FC ever! |
Luke now 6, starting to make typical
boy faces at camera. Hope, 4, very happy!)
|(FC was a bit weird this year, and rather wanted|
Luke and Hope's Mummy to sit on his lap too.
|(Sweet FC, tried really hard with monosyllabic children!|
Frugal note: Hope, 6, wearing that dress for 2nd year running).)
|(Same sweet FC.|
Luke, 9, starting to ask awkward questions.....)
|(Not actually sure this FC was alive.|
Children still enjoyed meeting him!)
|(This FC looks like he's just about had enough.|
This is the last year we went - Luke, 11, was bribed to keep
his mouth shut having worked it all out.
His Iowa Slipknot sweatshirt a bit out of place in Santa's Grotto?!)
We still keep Christmas Eve as a special time for us 4,
we usually go to the cinema together or go out for a meal.
I've no doubt that as the children get older
(Luke is now 17, Hope 15)
this will change, but I will always think of
those Christmas Eve's at Harrods
with great fondness
(apart from the whistling lollies!).