For a week leading up to the day my little one would ask me before bed time ‘am I seeing Father Christmas ‘morrow?‘ and every night my reply would be the same ‘not tomorrow but at the weekend. Are you excited?‘ and we’d talk about Father Christmas until we’d exhausted the topic and it was time for him to go to bed.
To be honest, when I booked the experience I didn’t know if he’d get much out of it. I knew he’d enjoy the ambience and the little activities but would he really understand who Father Christmas was? Turns out all nearly three year olds know who Father Christmas is, even without prompting!
While I could have tried my luck with the bloggers Lapland UK lottery, I decided a long while back that I wanted to buy the tickets instead. The tickets don’t come cheap, but I didn’t want to feel obligated to have to write up about the experience which might take away some of the magic of the day. It sounds silly because I’m writing up about it now anyway. But sometimes the treat is nicer when you know it’s entirely yours to enjoy.
On the morning of the day, I woke up in high spirits with my little one. If you follow my blog you’ll know I’m currently 14 weeks pregnant, and if you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I’m solo parenting until mid December because my partner is working abroad. My little one and I spent a bit of time in bed cuddling and talking about the day ahead and getting ourselves excited before getting up to find some breakfast.
And then we set about getting ourselves ready to meet the big man- Father Christmas. (Santa Claus doesn’t exist in this household, he’s known only as Father Christmas- so I’m glad Lapland UK have stuck to calling him this too).
Except that I started to come over all hot and nauseous. Something I’ve grown accustomed to throughout this pregnancy. I sat on the edge of the bath to try and steady myself and breath through it.
For the first time since finding out I was pregnant I was actually sick. Not once, but four times.
It was at that point I wondered logistically if I could take my son to Lapland UK. I tried to think of the various options. My mum could take him, but she’d never be able to drive there as it would involve motorways. All other family live that side of London so it would still require me to drive that direction anyway and that’s before asking what they had planned for the day to see if was a possibility.
I tried calling my partner to see what he thought. The last thing I wanted to do was start driving and then be sick in the car or even once we got to Lapland UK. Typically I couldn’t get through to him.
So I picked myself up and continued to get ready because I couldn’t let down my little boy. He’d been so excited for this one particular day and whether I was sick or not I’d just have to wing it.
Once we arrived at Lapland UK I gave my son his letter from Father Christmas.
It arrived weeks ago, but I decided to hold off letting him have it until now. I let him open it and then read it out to him.
Jumping in excitement we made our way to the reception area and thought we’d be waiting in a queue. No queue whatsoever. We went straight up to an elf who checked us in and informed us that we were part of the reindeer group. Each dedicated time slot is split in half (reindeer group and husky group) to make sure there are never too many people on your experience. And it works fantastically.
At our allocated time another elf came out to greet the children and get them in high spirits before he led the two groups through some doors which opened up into a magical forest setting where we we stumbled upon an elaborately dressed elf humming to himself.
Once we were all seated the elaborately dressed elf entertained us with stories, questions, songs and even aided in getting some good old fashioned competition going between the reindeer and husky groups. And then we all waited with baited breath. The moment was coming when the doors to Lapland were to be opened.
Even though I’m very aware that we’re not in Lapland, once those doors opened up and you saw snow it was literally like you were being walked into a whole new world. You couldn’t fail to believe that you were in the land of Father Christmas. It was at this point the two groups properly split and we each followed our designated elf through the snow covered paths.
There is no detail that is overlooked when it comes to Lapland UK. From the actors, to the design of Lapland all the way through to the small elf doors created at each lodge for the children to go through. Who wants to go through normal doors when there are elf doors?!
Once inside our first lodge, with the children all seated in the middle and the mums and dads around the outskirts of the room it dawned on us all that we were inside the toy factory. Above us were cog wheels turning that were pulling toys around in a factory like way.
And in front of us were some cheeky little elves explaining to the children what they were doing here.
With Father Christmas in need of some help to make sure Christmas Eve goes without a hitch, the children were needed to help make toys for all the children on the good list- an exceptionally long list this year apparently!
With stuffed Reindeers and wooden toy bears to make the children got to work and throughly enjoyed themselves.
The older children were able to make the toys themselves, while the younger ones like Little London required a little bit of help from mum or dad.
But the excitement and happiness of all the children was evident from the beaming faces around the room.
After finishing up in the toy factory, we followed our elf back outside into the snowy land and walked past little elf houses and through snow covered trees until we came to Mother Christmas’ house.
The children sat down on little benches right in front of Mother Christmas and were told all about Father Christmas’ favourite treat. Gingerbread.
With little hats, aprons, icing and sweets the children were able to decorate their own gingerbread men but were told of course not to give any to Father Christmas because of his widening belly. Not that my son had any problem scoffing his entire gingerbread man down before we even left the room!
After the gingerbread men were all decorated, the children sat back down again and Mother Christmas read them all a Christmas story. If ever there was a ‘hygge’ moment this was it.
After saying goodbye to Mother Christmas and her elves, we were allowed to wander free and explore Lapland. With huskies ready to be petted and stroked, and ice skating for all the children to enjoy it was easy to pass the time.
I obviously couldn’t take Little London ice skating because of the pregnancy which was something he really wanted to do, but I’ve promised him Daddy will take him when we next see him.
Instead we checked out some of the shops including the bauble shop, the toy shop (full of great christmas gifts), the sweet shop and we also stopped by the post office to make sure Father Christmas received Little London’s letter.
With a few little cafes and a larger restaurant, I decided to share a big plate of chicken schnitzel and fries with my son which was delicious! Seriously good food. I was a bit tentative as to whether it would stay down, but with quite a full on day I needed something to eat even if I just had a few bites.
When our time came to meet Father Christmas we were shown which direction to walk in and we made our way through the enchanted forest.
The paths twisted around and the snow glistened on the trees with all the twinkling fairy lights. Darkness slowly started to descend by this point and everything became more magical because of it.
We walked past reindeers (‘look mummy, it’s Sven‘ my Frozen addicted child told me), and past Father Christmas’ sleigh. And eventually we came to the end where an elf directed us to a door.
Through the door was the Father Christmas checking in desk. At this point you leave your children sitting on the bench while they just confirm details and take any extra notes off you to pass on to the big man. I told the elves at the desk that Little London has been really excited about the prospect of the new baby. With only two other families in the room there was no real queue, it’s a smooth process at Lapland UK from start to finish.
I’m not sure how many Father Christmas’ they have, but in no time we were led out of the room and walked to Father Christmas’ house by an elf who held my son’s hand and asked him questions about his day and kept him entertained until it was time for him to go in and see the man he’s been waiting to see all week.
He knocked on the door.
And in he went.
He sat down next to Father Christmas and you literally couldn’t wipe the smile or amazement from his face.
Father Christmas asked him about all the things he’d gotten up to that day, including whether Mother Christmas had told him not to share his gingerbread man. He then got onto the topic of cars and motorbikes- something my little boy loves and asked him if he’d seen Sven the reindeer on the way to his house. He then asked if he was going to have a new baby sibling. My son was just awe struck that this man knew what was going on in his life.
He spent a really good amount of time with Father Christmas and it didn’t feel rushed at all. During this time the elves took pictures because as part of the experience you get one picture to take away with you at the end.
He then looked at his list of good children and there it was, my son’s name. Meaning he was to get a gift from Father Christmas. He delved into his Christmas sack and pulled out an exceptionally luxurious soft toy husky dog. It was beautiful. My son cuddled it straight away and said thank you.
He also pulled out a small elf baby rattle for my son to give to his new baby sibling when it arrives- which was so thoughtful and took me by surprise.
I couldn’t have asked for a better Father Christmas.
For me, this experience is literally magical. It’s everything you want your child to believe in and to encourage them to continue that christmas excitement for as long as they can.
It is expensive when you look at the cost, but once you’re there you can see how much love and attention has gone into everything. From the snow covered trees and pathways to the construction of each lodge and Father Christmas’ house. Even the theatre that is involved with all the actors is something quite unique. It’s interactive theatre. It’s immersive and it’s a beautiful escape for children and adults alike . I highly rate it and I’ll be returning again next year.