It’s no secret that I absolutely love Christmas. Our tree goes up around the 3rd week of November and I start planning for Christmas around the end of October (researching Christmas presents, planning the different activities I want to take S to, getting social dates in the diary, etc.) Christmas has a way of evoking some of my favourite childhood memories. As a child, my parents would bundle my brother and I into our car and take us for a drive through London. We’d each be sat at either end of the back seat staring out at all the beautiful lights along Oxford Street and Regents Street. I may be 30 something years old but I still gaze in wonderment at the lights in the West End. Naturally I’d like to create some of these memories for S. One’s he can look back on and smile at – for me it’s an easy way to find my happy place. And Christmas to me isn’t just about the gift giving (BUT that is a welcomed addition), it’s also about the festive spirit, the kindness I see around me and the time for mulled wine (although I have been known to drag this tradition on until February!)
With that, I wanted to take S to Lapland UK this year. In my opinion, he’s the perfect age where he was able to enjoy every aspect of it. I probably could have taken him last year but somehow we had so much else on, it didn’t happen. For all those “invited” to Lapland by Father Christmas, they receive a personalised invitation a week before with a time slot. Ours was 1:30 and we arrived there at 12:30. After parking in one of their many free car parks, we walked through the Enchanted Forest to the entrance. We checked in with the elves who were super chirpy and engaged with S. We were quite early so we sat down to share a hot chocolate and take in our surroundings.
At 1:30 we had an introduction to our day before being taken through a beautiful dimly lit corridor into an enchanted forest. It was here that we met one of the oldest elves and was introduced to Ecko – the “green” elf. They engaged us with stories before singing the elf song and whoosh the doors opened into what I can only describe as Winter Wonderland – it was like a scene out of Narnia. We began our adventure at the Toy Factory where S got to make 2 toys, helping the elves get ready for Christmas. There was also a conveyor belt of dangling toys hanging from the ceiling.
The second part of our experience was story time and gingerbread decorating with Mother Christmas and her elves. She was so lovely – they ran out of spaces and she went and personally got S a placemat, a gingerbread man, some sweets and a chef’s hat.
Finally we were let out into the Elf village which had an ice skating rink, a bauble shop, a post office (where we wrote a letter to Father Christmas), a restaurant, a souvenier shop and lots more. There was a juggler elf and a bauble elf. Although all the vendors accepted cards, you could opt to buy “Jingles” which is elf money. 1 Jingle = 1 £.
Finally, about an hour later, we strolled through the Winter Woodland to end our magical day with a meeting with the man himself, Father Christmas. S had been counting down the days to Lapland and was even really excited in the waiting area. But the minute the doors opened and Father Christmas bellowed out “S, I’ve been waiting for you” – he got really shy and hid behind me. We sat beside Father Christmas and he did really well considering S wasn’t responding to him that much. At Lapland they’d asked us for some information before we got there and using that, Father Christmas was able to engage S by talking about things he “knew” he liked – and it worked because S perked up wondering how he knew. All part of the magical experience!
What I loved about Lapland is just how enthusiastic they all are and the very obvious effort that has gone in to create this stunning place. The “snow” didn’t just sit on the trees you could see – look up and there was snow even right at the top. No parts of Lapland looked run down and none of the elves missed a beat. They were funny, warm and engaging with all the children. Apart from his bout of shyness at the end, S absolutely loved the experience and honestly, so did I. It definitely brought out my inner child and left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling. Now the Christmas spell has been cast, I hope S loves the season as much as I do.
Lapland UK is open from the 19th of November until the 24th of December. We were invited to visit Lapland UK as press but as always all thoughts and views are my own and unbiased.