Spotlight on St Nicholas
Now that we've reached December, it’s permitted to talk about Christmas. And while most of us associate Santa Claus with Christmas Eve and opening presents the following morning, 6 December is actually St Nicholas’ Day. So, it’s an opportune moment to look at all the events centred around our favourite festive character.
Who was St Nicholas?
The tradition of Santa Claus has evolved from the life and actions of Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra, who lived in the third century. He spent his time helping the poor and was well-known for his devotion to children, which is why it’s not surprising he became the embodiment of excitement and gift giving at this time of year.
Post a letter to Father Christmas at Harrods
Parents looking for the perfect spot to post a letter to Father Christmas will find a special post box in the Toy Kingdom at Harrods. Spend some time with your little ones talking them through the process of writing to Santa and the sorts of gifts they might like to include on their wish list.
Then, make sure it’s addressed to the North Pole and take them to the post box to send it to Santa. They’ll be so excited to post their letter and it’s a great photo opportunity to get a photo of them popping it in the box. You can also visit the second floor of this world-famous department store, where a personalised luxury Santa’s sack service is on offer. Your child’s name could be emblazoned on their own Harrods hessian bag to leave out for Santa this Christmas.
Santa Land at Winter Wonderland
Meet Santa at this year’s Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, where he has a gift waiting for all children who have been good. Afterwards, take the children to Santa’s Toy Factory to get them even more excited. Here, they’ll be able to see the elves at work, making presents in the run-up to Christmas. You will also not want to miss out on the chance to ride on the Santa Express.
Santa Land is also home to a whole host of rides that are suitable for all the family. And when snack time comes around there are plenty of eateries and sweet treats to keep everyone happy. This popular area is a great place to start your Winter Wonderland experience.
Victorian Santa at the Museum of London
Wallow in the nostalgia of Christmases past and enjoy a special Victorian extravaganza at the Museum of London. The galleries have been beautifully bedecked in vintage decorations and there is a really festive atmosphere all around, right down to the traditional carols being sung in the distance.
The highlight of the visit will be a trip to Santa’s grotto, where children can let Father Christmas know what their wishes are this year. He will give each child a gift and for an extra special keepsake, professional photos will also be available.
Sail with Santa
For something a little different, but fantastically London-centric, set sail from Tower Pier for an hour-long river cruise with Santa. Children will get to sit and enjoy a cookie and soft drink with Father Christmas and receive a present, while parents will be offered mulled wine and a mince pie.
You will get to see many of London’s most iconic landmarks from the River Thames, which could have a dusting of snow, depending on the weather. Also, look out for Christmas trees and lights twinkling on the riverbank.
Father Christmas at the Hall
Sneak behind mysterious doorways and be guided by festive characters, including the Snow Queen, on a fantastic quest around the Royal Albert Hall. The premise is that Father Christmas has become stuck at the venue and requires children to gather enough festive spirit to get his sleigh back in the air.
Spend an hour taking part in interactive games and learning to sing some special songs before meeting Father Christmas himself. The experience culminates with a chance to sit in Santa’s sleigh and receive a gift, providing wonderful memories for everyone.
Image credit: John Ford Photos via iStock