March 8 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Going to Santa’s Grotto to tell him what you want for Christmas is something every child remembers for the rest of their life.
Despite his busy schedule, Santa will be available at other locations across the county: They include:
Thursford - there are two dates left for Santa’s Magical Journey, today and December 23. Contact 01328 878477.
Church Farm, Stow Bardolph - visit Father Christmas’ woodland retreat between 10am and 5pm every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Christmas. Visit www.churchfarmstowbardolph.co.uk for more information.
Mid-Norfolk Railway - join Santa on journeys departing from Dereham and Wymondham Abbey. Visit www.mnr.org.uk for times and details.
Castle Mall shopping centre, Norwich - meet Santa and his elves from 10.30am every day until Christmas Eve. Visit www.castlemallnorwich.co.uk for details.
However, at one Norfolk shopping centre, Santa was called away at the last minute on urgent elf business – so he sent his wife instead.
The Vancouver Quarter in King’s Lynn is one of the privileged few places to attract the services of Mother Christmas – the woman behind the great man himself – at its festive grotto.
Little is known about Mrs Santa and the role she plays in helping her husband prepare for his round-the-world trip delivering presents to excited children every year.
However, in her first ever interview, Mother Christmas revealed some of the secrets of Santa’s home life and how the pair work as a team to help bring smiles to the faces of children across the globe.
“He is extra busy this year because there are more and more children to go and visit,” said Mother Christmas. She talked as she sat in her cosy wooden grotto on the second floor of Beales department store, in King’s Lynn town centre, with a photo of her husband by her side.
“His time is getting more and more precious, so I thought I’d help him by coming to get children’s letters and make sure they get to him while he’s busy.”
It is a bit different from her usual role, which includes looking after the elves, making Santa mince pies and hot chocolate and getting everything ready for the big day – for example by polishing Rudolph’s nose so it lights the way ahead on Christmas Eve and keeping the good child list updated.
She cooks her husband a fry-up breakfast on Christmas morning when he returns from delivering presents and then leaves him to have a well-earned sleep, before getting his festive dinner ready for 3pm, where the couple are joined by their large extended family of elves.
He spends the rest of the year visiting dear friends, including the Tooth Fairy, and likes to pass the time by skiing.
Mother Christmas, who has lost count of how old she is, but is at least 365, admits some children are a little surprised to see Mother rather than Father Christmas.
However, she said: “They are not shy for very long.”
She said she talks to the children about whether they have been good and what they want for Christmas.
She also tells them a special story about robins – but it is one you only get to hear if you visit the grotto.
Mother Christmas seems to have been a big hit with the public as children queue up with their parents to meet her.
Abbie Panks, manager of the Vancouver Quarter Shopping Centre, said: “We wanted to give the children something different and special to remember, so we really liked the idea of inviting Mother Christmas along.
“From my own experience with my nieces and nephews, children tend to see Santa three or four times in the lead-up to Christmas. This was a way of extending Christmas activities whilst allowing children to see a different face. Mother Christmas is very natural and gentle and this seems to work well for the children that are particularly young.”
Mother Christmas added: “It has been a pleasure to see all the children and I hope to see many more before Christmas Eve.”
A quick look at Mother Christmas’ diary on the Vancouver Centre’s website shows that she flies into King’s Lynn from the North Pole to be available at the grotto from 3pm on Thursdays and Fridays and from noon on Saturdays and Sundays.
However, she will stay on for a final day on Monday, December 23, before heading back north to help Santa with a busy Christmas Eve.
To book, visit the website www.vancouverquarter.com/santas-grotto/bookings