Friday, 17 December 2010

Where is Santa Claus?

This is our second Christmas in England and we are loving experiencing the different ways Christmas is celebrated here. In England Santa Claus is called Father Christmas. An interesting fact I found out was before the 1880's Father Christmas in England was dressed in a green coat which was a sign of returning spring. Now however he is usually found wearing a red coat.

So where do you find Father Christmas? Not at the malls like you do in the states but in his Grotto which is located in the Garden Centers. It took us a while to find him! Garden centers are very different from the ones in the states. In addition to selling garden supplies you will find art-n-crafts, house hold decorations, books and toys. But best of all Garden Centers almost always have a cafe, where you can find special coffees, teas, pastries and a very good hot lunch. Shopping in England is a whole different experience than shopping in the states:).

Now we have been to 2 different Grotto's and found the experience to be very different at each one. Last year Father Christmas Grotto was filled from floor to ceiling with various toys for all ages. After a child's visit with Father Christmas, they are able to pick a toy and take it home. This can be quite an experience if you have a indecisive child, as the room full of toys is overwhelming:). Of course parents you pay for this as most Garden centers charge you to see Santa in his Grotto.

This year I found a Father Christmas Grotto in London and it was free, except for the photo, and the kids were given a candy cane.

Another difference is children are not allowed to sit on Father Christmas lap. It is a child safety regulation:(. The boxes on either side of Father Christmas is where the child sits, next to Father Christmas. Last year we didn't know of that regulation and it wasn't pointed out to us, but this year it was!


  1. I'm learning so much about Christmas in England! My children would love to be able to pick out a toy from Santa, but they too would be overwhelmed by choices. That's also interesting about the "no lap" rule with Santa. Unfortunately, it's a rule that makes sense in our times, but it's sad at the same time :( I'm glad you found Father Christmas' Grotto! Is there only one Grotto and Santa to be found? Or are there different Grottos with Santas like we have different malls and Santas in the states? Just curious :)
    Clicked a vote for you!
    Have a blessed Friday!

  2. Hi Tracy,
    There are Father Christmas Grotto's all over but if you don't know where to look it is hard to find. Now I know to go to the Garden Centers. But you have to call ahead and check the hours to see when Father Christmas will be there. It is sad that children can no longer sit on his lap, at first I was really put off but now I understand it but still don't like it much:)

  3. Thank you for sharing about CHRISTmas in England. It is so interesting, and I have always wanting to know what it is like over there. It makes the world seem so much smaller. (and the information is not filtered through the news and/or other sources, if you know what I mean.) I voted for you. Have a great day, and I hope your son's rash is nothing to worry about.

  4. Hi Anna-Marie,
    Yes, I saw you posted on FB about your son's rash. Is he better? I hope you have a great weekend and I clicked a vote for you :)

  5. wow, great fun and new information. what new adventures lol. and hey, i like that regulation of a child not sitting on a strangers lap, now a days its just not the same as before.

  6. HI Lynda,
    We really do love living over here. My husband swears in another life he was British:)

  7. Hi Tracy (and Lynda)
    No his rash is getting worse and I have now put him on allergy med in the hopes it will go away. If it is not better by Monday I will be going back to the Doctor and hoping for a better explanation than what I got on Friday:(

  8. Hi Mari,
    They are very strict here about child safety which is a good thing but still it is sad that kids can't even sit on Santa's lap anymore:( What is the world coming too.

  9. aw how cute! I am English and enjoyed reading your American take on our traditions!

  10. Have a blessed Sunday, just clicked a vote for you! :)

  11. Hi Fiona,
    thanks for stopping by. We really enjoy living here and participating in all the activities:)