Tag Archives: Father Christmas

Six Family Christmas Shows in Manchester

Christmas is a time for traditions and one of ours is a trip to see a Christmas show or two. In Manchester we have lots of great theatres within easy reach of our home and they always offer an exciting selection of Christmas productions. There’s something for everyone. Love panto? Go and see Sleeping Beauty. Got little ones? Go and see Stick Man at The Lowry. Below are six family Christmas shows you can see in Manchester this Christmas…

Stick Man, The Lowry 1 December – 6 January

This classic tale by Julia Donaldson is on at The Lowry from 1st December to 6th January. The story follows the Stick Man on a series of unfortunate adventures which lead him far from the comforts of home. But will he ever make it back to the family tree?

Stick Man is a modern classic and is suitable for children aged 3+. Fans of the book will enjoy this delightful adaptation where Stick Man finds himself in all kinds of perilous situations.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the website.

Five Family Christmas Shows in Manchester

Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas, Waterside Arts 4 – 31 December

Children of all ages will delight in Briggs’ grumpy but loveable Father Christmas as he gets ready for his busiest day of the year: Christmas Eve.  Watch as he prepares his Christmas deliveries, feeds his reindeer and finally takes flight into the snowy night. But things don’t run smoothly and he soon encounters soot-covered chimneys to squeeze through and treacherous weather conditions.

With plenty of live music, songs and playful puppetry, this critically acclaimed adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ much loved book is a delightful festive treat for children to enjoy. Suitable for ages 3-11 years.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the website.

Doctor Dolittle, The Lowry 11 December – 5 January

This year’s festive extravaganza at The Lowry is the hotly anticipated Doctor Dolittle. It’s based on the popular 1967 film with Rex Harrison and stars Mark Williams, Vicky Entwistle, Brian Capron and Adele Anderson.

Join the eccentric Doctor, his human companions and his exotic menagerie of animal friends on an extraordinary adventure to find the Giant Pink Sea Snail, that holds the secret of life and making the world a happier place. With help from the Pushmi-Pullyu and his trusty sidekick Polynesia the Parrot, the larger-than-life Doctor Dolittle teaches us not only to talk to the animals but to listen to them as well!

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the website.

Five Family Christmas Shows in Manchester

Little Gift, The Lowry 18 – 31 December

Ted is a lonely old soul, living all alone in the big city. One morning his life is changed forever when a mysterious helping hand steps in and disrupts his quiet routine. This playful show presents Ted’s tale with a heart-warming mix of puppetry, live music and song.

Little Gift is a brand-new story from multi award-winners M6 Theatre and Andy Manley. It’s suitable for children aged 3-7 years and it just the thing to bring a bit of light into the darkest season of the year.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the website.

Sleeping Beauty, Stockport Plaza 30th November – 6th January

What’s Christmas without a panto? Starring Ted Robbins and Claire King, Sleeping Beauty is the story of a Princess who sleeps for a lifetime in her forgotten palace after an evil curse puts her under a spell. Will her true loves kiss awaken our Sleeping Beauty or will evil triumph over good in this magical family adventure that everyone can enjoy.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the website.

Five Family Christmas Shows in Manchester

The Tin Soldier, Ordsall Hall, Salford 12th January

Toy soldiers, goblins and ballerinas… all the ingredients for a perfect family show filled with puppetry, multimedia and live music, this is a Christmas story not to be missed. Adapted from the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale and performed by Folksy Theatre.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the website.

Are you going to see any Christmas Shows? What are you going to see?

18 ideas for filling your Christmas Eve Box

A Christmas Eve box is a relatively new tradition for us. I’m not even really sure where it came from. We’ve always done the Elf on a Shelf thing and for the last few years the Elf has delivered a Christmas Eve box to our house from Father Christmas.

I think the idea of the Christmas Eve box is to give little ones something to tide them over until Christmas Day. Something that will help to calm their excitement and enthusiasm for not going to sleep or for waking up incredibly early. We’ve usually been quite lucky with the early morning wake ups, but the going to sleep on Christmas Eve is always a bit tricky.

To us, our Christmas Eve box should be filled with nice things we can do together as a family, things that’ll keep us cosy and things we will just enjoy. We have a small personalised sack we use for ours, but in previous years we’ve used boxes we’ve decorated. You can buy special boxes, but if you have the time and inclination, it’s nice to decorate your own.

18 ideas for filling your Christmas Eve Box

Your Christmas Eve box can be as simple or as complicated as you want. If you’re struggling to think of what to put in yours, here are some of my suggestions.

18 ideas for filling your Christmas Eve Box

  1. New Christmas pyjamas
  2. New Christmas slippers
  3. A Christmas book to read at bedtime
  4. A DVD to watch together on Christmas Eve
  5. A Christmas mug, hot chocolate and marshmallows
  6. Family snacks – popcorn, chocolate, candy canes, whatever you like!
  7. A special Christmas decoration to hang on the tree
  8. The Santa plate to leave a snack out for Santa
  9. Reindeer food
  10. Christmas crafts to make together
  11. A magic key if you need one
  12. Christmas cookie baking kit
  13. Christmas colouring or activity books
  14. Cuddly toy
  15. Letter from Santa
  16. Novelty Christmas socks
  17. Christmas bubbly bath, for Christmas Eve bath-time
  18. Christmas stockings to hang up for Santa

Obviously you don’t need all 18 of these ideas, pick and choose what works for you and create a box which suits your family. What will be in your Christmas Eve box this year?

18 ideas for filling your Christmas Eve Box

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park

If the grey weather is getting you down and you’re feeling a little bit bah-humbug about the onset of the festive period; then I can heartily recommend a visit to Tatton Park in Cheshire. Over the weekend we braved the rain and struck out in search of some serious festive fun. Which we found a short drive from our home in South Manchester.

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park 2017

Tatton Park have pulled out all the stops and thoroughly decked the halls of their beautiful mansion as well as laying on a whole raft of lovely family festive activities this Christmas. When we visited over the weekend we filled a busy afternoon with Christmassy fun and could have stayed for more if it wasn’t closing!

When we arrived we headed straight for the warmth of the mansion. It’s a stunning building on any day of the week, but it’s been beautifully decorated with fresh foliage and greenery, with a series of grand state rooms and servants’ quarters decorated with a 12 Days of Christmas theme. It’s lavishly done, with turtle doves, gold rings, ladies dancing, maids a milking and so on.

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park 2017

We entered a room filled with the most beautiful Christmas tree and a choir took their place on the staircase and serenaded us with Christmas carols. It was so lovely. We made our way to the servants’ quarters and discovered a very helpful butler in The Still Room who offered us freshly baked flapjack and some history of the house. There was also seasonal crafts for the children to try as well as a wish tree you could write your Christmas wishes on.

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park 2017

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park 2017

Once we’d finished our tour of the mansion, we wandered into the Christmas craft fair which was on and we managed to pick up a few presents while we were there. We stopped for a quick coffee in The Stableyard cafe and then we wandered down to the farm.

We love the farm at Tatton Park. Whatever time of year you visit there is always something interesting going on in the farmyard. But we weren’t really there to check out the livestock, we were there to meet Father Christmas.

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park 2017

A visit to Father Christmas at the Farm is something of a tradition for us. We’ve visited Tatton Park a few times before and each year it’s slightly different. This year we were greeted by a brass band heartily playing Christmas carols, which was lovely. We said hello to the donkeys and had a look at the nativity scene. We then wandered past the small fairground attractions and headed straight to say hello to the reindeer, sit in the sleigh and have a look at the two heavy horses in the stable.

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park 2017

Up the cobbled lane to have a quick look around the Elves Workshop and on to the grotto. It was a cold rainy day, and there was no queue at all, something of a marvellous bonus. We were greeted by a very friendly French plate-spinning elf who entertained us while we had our faces painted.

We were then led down to the grotto to see Father Christmas himself. Ben had a good chat with him about how good he has been this year and what he would like for Christmas. Father Christmas gave him a little present to open on Christmas Day; presumably to save him carrying it on the big night.

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park 2017

I wanted to show the boys the pigs. We were incredibly lucky to arrive just as Sienna, a Saddleworth sow was giving birth to her piglets. We hung around and watched in awe as the pig gave birth to piglet number 4. It was something incredibly special to watch and a fantastic little biology lesson for the boys.

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park 2017

By the time we left the farm darkness was creeping in; so we hot-footed it to the car to head home. Tired, cold but absolutely bursting with festive spirit. It was a fabulous way to start this year’s festivities!

Tickets to Father Christmas at the Farm are £7.00 for adults and £6.50 for children (including a gift). Mansion ticket prices are £10 for adults and £6 for children. Parking is £6 per car.

To find out more information about the full range Christmas events at Tatton Park, including carol concerts and other family acitivites, visit their website

We were invited guests of Tatton Park and we were given complimentary tickets in exchange for this review. All images and opinions are our own.

Christmas: The Polar Expedition at intu Trafford Centre

Over the weekend we headed off to the intu Trafford Centre for a visit to the Christmas grotto. This year the grotto in Barton Square has a Polar Expedition theme.

We arrived early in Barton Square and grabbed hot chocolates from the little Christmas market they’ve got there. At the appointed hour we joined the queue and had our names checked off the list by a friendly elf.

Our group were shown into a room decorated like a log cabin. The children sat at the front (adults on benches at the back) and an elf chatted to the children about the reindeer and about Christmas magic. We all repeated a rhyme, the door swung open and we magically arrived in the North Pole. 

Christmas: The Polar Expedition at intu Trafford Centre

We then waited in a room with animatronic polar bears and a lovely snowy enchanted arctic wonderland. The elves chatted to the children while we waited and the kids really enjoyed watching the polar bears.

After ten minutes or so of queuing, we moved onto my favourite part of our visit – the augmented reality experience. This was very well done and we spent a decent amount of time perched on an piece of arctic ice interacting penguins, seals, killer whales and polar bears. It was fab.

We then moved on to queue up to see Father Christmas, the queue was fairly fast moving and the room we were queuing in was as festive as it gets and very pretty. Very soon we were ushered through to meet Father Christmas who had a quick chat with the boy and gave him the gift of a little Playmobil set. We also had our photo taken which we picked up at the end.

Tickets to the Polar Expedition experience are £7.50 per child and £5 per adult. We were on the tour for around an hour and the boy really enjoyed his visit and chatting to the elves. I think it’s good value for money and the augmented reality part in particular was a real winner for us. 

The Christmas grotto is open until Saturday 24 December and it’s probably best if you book ahead if you can. You can find out more about the Polar Expedition and buy tickets on their website

We were invited guests of the intu Trafford Centre. 

Christmas: A truly magical visit to LaplandUK

One of my favourite things about Christmas is creating a bit of magic for the small boy. Having had a childhood filled with real magic, it’s only fair I pass some of that sparkle onto the next generation. Over the weekend the most magical Christmassy thing happened to us and the pure wonder on my son’s face is something I will hold in my heart forever. We visited LaplandUK and had the full Lapland experience! 

A few weeks before our visit I filled out an online form to give Father Christmas some extra information about Ben, then a personalised letter arrived for him which I put away for us to read the day before our visit.

On Saturday morning, our elf on a shelf Elfie brought a letter from Father Christmas. Apparently too many children had made it on the good list this year and the elves needed an extra pair of hands. Ben needed to go to Lapland to help out. We live in Manchester and LaplandUK is in Whitmoor Forest in Ascot, so we drove down the day before and stayed nearby in Bracknell.

Christmas: A truly magical visit to LaplandUK

We arrived at LaplandUK and we made our way to through a beautiful pine forest to the warmth of the welcome cabin. We checked in, the boy was given his Elf Passport and we were whisked off on a tour of the Enchanted Forest. We met a whole host of helpful elves, starting with the Elf Travelmaster who greeted us. On into the forest to meet Sage and Eeko, and through the magical doors to the toy workshop to help the elves make some toys.

Christmas: A truly magical visit to LaplandUK

The workshop was really beautifully decorated, if you look up and there’s a conveyor belt of toys doing circuits on the ceiling and three lively and cheeky elves busily keeping the production line going. Ben helped make two toys – a reindeer cuddly toy and a wooden teddy bear. He loved building the bear, and we slightly regret not asking Father Christmas for one this year. 

Christmas: A truly magical visit to LaplandUK

Christmas: A truly magical visit to LaplandUK

After half an hour or so of helping the elves out, we wandered some more through the snowy forest to Mother Christmas’s House to see what she had in her oven. She’d been baking gingerbread and gave everyone a gingerbread man to decorate with runny icing and sweets. It was sticky fun, but that’s the best kind of fun.

Christmas: A truly magical visit to LaplandUK

Once Mother Christmas’s kitchen was clean and tidy, she read us a lovely Christmas story and we headed back out into the snowy woods to explore the Elf Village.

Christmas: A truly magical visit to LaplandUK

You get around two hours to spend in the Elf Village, exploring and having fun. By the time we got there it was dark and the village was beautifully lit up with lights. At the heart of the village is an ice rink with a huge and beautiful Christmas tree in the centre. The village also has a small cafe, the Elf Post Office, the Elf Emporium, a large cafeteria style restaurant and a handful of little stalls selling mulled wine and bratwurst sausages.

Christmas: A truly magical visit to LaplandUK

There’s plenty to keep you occupied in the Elf Village. I’m not allowed to ice skate and my husband had hurt his leg, so none of us were able to get on the rink, but we enjoyed watching everyone whizz by. Little ones could skate with a sturdy penguin figure to keep them upright, and there were a few elf helpers skating about to help anyone who struggled. 

Christmas: A truly magical visit to LaplandUK

The Elf Emporium was a huge and glorious gift shop. I spent quite a lot of time in there browsing and picking up a few things for home. I really liked the the restaurant, it had a lovely festive woodland feel and the food was very good. We didn’t have much to eat, just a quick snack really, but they had an interesting selection of hearty winter dishes to choose from at what I thought were reasonable prices.

The little cafe on the other side of the ice rink was the place to go for a quick snack or coffee and cake. We paid a visit to the Elf Post Office and we wrote a postcard to send home and I had a hot mulled cider to keep the chill off. Whilst we were in the village, elves and huskies wandered about talking to visitors, making sure everyone was happy and entertained. 

Christmas: A truly magical visit to LaplandUK

At the appointed hour, we queued up and we were shown through the forest, past the reindeer and the sleigh, up to a cosy cabin in the woods where an elf told us all about the journey Father Christmas makes each Christmas Eve. After a few minutes our name was called and an elf walked us through the Enchanted Forest to see Father Christmas.

His cabin was cosy. He sat in his chair and invited Ben to sit next to him. They chatted a while about Ben’s recent birthday party in the woods, about how he’s getting on in Beavers and about what he’d like for Christmas. Father Christmas thanked him for his hard work making toys and gave him a cuddly husky and a book to take home. We had our photographs taken, said our goodbyes and left the cabin in the woods with the promise to leave carrots, gingerbread and a drop of something warming by the fire on Christmas Eve.

Christmas: A truly magical visit to LaplandUK

It was beyond a shadow of doubt the best Father Christmas experience we’ve ever had. He was incredibly realistic and so believable I got festive goosebumps and a little tear in my eye. If it’s good enough for Elton John, the Beckhams and Strictly Come Dancing, it’s good enough for us!

It was magic. It was the real Father Christmas. It was a fantastic memory our family will treasure forever. Ben has done nothing but talk about his visit to LaplandUK since we got home. It’s filled him full of Christmas spirit and excitement. It was pure undiluted Christmas magic and wonder. We loved it. 

For more information about LaplandUK and to book tickets, visit their website.

We were invited guests of LaplandUK. All images and opinions are our own.