Visiting Father Christmas – A Particular Kind of Magic

Harrods Toy KingdomYesterday in the pouring rain we made our way to see Father Christmas. An appointment we made a little time ago.

Whether you agree with the ‘commercialism’ around Christmas or not there is nothing quite as spectacular as Harrods at Christmas. The world famous building in Knightsbridge covered in fairy lights with beautifully designed window displays grabbing even an adult’s imagination. My parents would bring my sister and I as children to London near Christmas to see the lights and this has clearly stayed with me.

Christmas is a time for traditions some old some more recent. Since the arrival of our 3 and a half year old we have made it a new family tradition to visit the great man at Harrods and we hope to do so for as long as possible.

This is our third visit and I have to say Harrods have improved the whole experience for children as well as mums and dads. A far more spacious area to wait, barriers cushioned to comfortably sit on or lean against and interactive distractions for the little ones to keep them amused. Several large screens with a welcome message from Mother Christmas who also invited them to sing Jingle Bells and Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer was charming. However, a huge interactive globe when touched releasing an explosion of stars kept the little ones especially our little boy mesmerised. The wait certainly did not feel as long as previous years. Some of Santa’s helpers along the way also entertained as they chatted to the children and parents eagerly awaiting their time with Father Christmas.

Something else also changed this year at Harrods. They have a new toy department. Now on the 3rd floor it is and certainly feels more spacious. However, what I find really welcoming and refreshing is that the toys are not displayed by gender but by brand.

Harrods Toy KingdomThere are also different rooms to walk through each with their own experience. The Big Top (circus themed), The Odyssey (home to gadgets, science and space), the Enchanted Forest (life size tree trunks and bird song), The Wonderland, Candy Store (Willy Wonka springs to mind) and last but not least the Reading Room. The Reading Room is a dedicated space showcasing children’s literature and is fabulous.

But back to Father Christmas. The moment has arrived as we knock the door to the East Wing. Our little boy has suddenly gone a little shy whispering when asked what he would like for Christmas and where he lives. Crucial information. But for what he does not say is written all over his face. Wonder, excitement, an imagination fired. Parenting is hard, exhausting and at times challenging but amongst all of that there are times of pure magic. This is just one of many of those times.

 

Pictures provided by Harrods Press Department

 

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