This morning the girls and I headed to Lapland UK. We wanted to do something extra nice for them as it was their grandma's funeral on Wednesday so it was good to really lift their spirits ready for Christmas.
Our time was 9am (first ones of the day) and we got there are just turned 8am. They suggest you arrive 30 minutes before your time anyway and as you can never tell what the traffic is like, we didn't mind being early. The doors opened around 8:50 and we went to check in and get ourselves some Elf Jingles (currency of Lapland - 1 EJ = £1). Had a pastry and then got ready to head in around 9am.
First area was meeting some of the elves and finding out why they are much taller than you expect. All to do with the size of pinecone they come from. The girls loved this and then at the end of the story, we headed into Lapland and to the Toy Factory. Little people have their own door to go through and head to a table, whilst we sat around the edges. We then found out that there had been more good children than ever this year which is why Santa had invited the children to come and help as the elves were so busy with presents. First they made a reindeer...
...then they made a wooden teddy.
Once this was over, we headed out down another snowy path to Mother Christmas' house where the children heard some secrets about Santa (including the fact that he loves gingerbread, so not to give him any) and then they decorated some gingerbread men. After doing that, time for a story.
We then moved into the Elf Village where we went straight off to ice skate (hint: take a spare pair of socks each as when you take your boots off to get your skates, your feet get soaked on the mats, and vice versa). Lots of penguins for the children to use and skating elves to help out.
Girls had lots of fun here and we skated for around 20 minutes (my ankles were starting to hurt).
We then went for a look around the elf village. The girls posted a letter to Santa in the Post Office and collected another stamp (the Elf Passports they are given when they check in are stamped in each area). We headed to the restaurant and had two portions of chips between us (3 EJ per portion) but I didn't get drinks as I felt 2EJ for a can of Coke (or similar) was pushing it. Once we'd eaten our chips,we walked to the sweet shop (4EJ for a cup of sweets but we didn't want that many and no half cups), and a final look around the Elf Emporium.
Then we went off to our meeting point by the bauble shop to go and see Santa. Off down the snowy path past the reindeer and then into the waiting room to see the big man himself.
An elf came and called the girls' names and off we went to Santa's house. The man himself was smashing. The girls believe he's the real Santa - he knew lots about them! He had a nice chat to them and I took photos and a video (the elf did some photos too). Then he asked them to close their eyes and they each got a lovely Husky soft toy as a present.
We said goodbye to Santa and went off to get the photo of the girls with him (included. You could buy additional ones if you wanted). I then exchanged my Elf Jingles that were left back into pounds and off we went.
The girls had the best morning. We were there around 3.5 hours and at no point did it feel packed or that you were pushed along. It's all very magical for young children and they enjoyed every bit of it. Time whizzed by - even the 'free time' part.
Now just to wait for Santa to visit on Christmas Eve.