When I Did Santa’s Grotto…

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Saturday was a magical. It was divine. I adore Christmas, it’s my favourite time of year. I want us all to pour a Bailey’s and get on with it now. Is it technically still Autumn, but I’m classing it as Winter now? It’s winter as soon as I put my Pretty Little Thing ‘Cheetah Bikini’ away in August. Either way, the earlier I can *whop* out a bit of merriment, a bit of tinsel and wrap it in a ‘warmth’ of happy beams,’ i’m happy.

I love it when things in life make people *beam.* It’s contagious, like the art of  the ‘we’ll just have ONE MORE drink,’ syndrome.

Beam’s make my entire world glow. I kinda need MORE of them. Lol.

(I hope The Gods are hearing me!!! I’ll even take ‘Two For One’ Bargain beams, please.)

Hang on one second. I just need to check someone’s Insta Story.  I heard a song on their story, early yesterday morning…Well…the lyrics to a song, which made me pause and ‘revisit.’ Y’know, it made me remember everything. I even Googled the words…just so I could get lost in the notion of romance for a second…

Yes, I’m that tragic. (Shush you, they’ll be writing memories on me when i’m frail, in an old people’s home with my 99 pet cat.)

Anyway…every Saturday is my big DAY with Ruby & Junior. I always give us something to look forward to. Excitement is important to me, so I plant it in their lives constantly. The excitement for Saturday, also makes Friday night’s magical. Plus, often on Sundays (or late Saturday night’s) for Junior, they  have to ‘tango’ off to their Fathers.

I felt bed for Junior, because had such a GREAT Saturday with me, that he begged me not to take him… (It’s always difficult. But for now, ‘until i’m big’ he says…It’s kinda how it is.)

I get along with Keiran, when it comes to the co parenting situation. We do it well. Yet, we just ‘parent’ so differently, because he’s hyper religious right now..I worry that it effects the babiest baby of Wunna Land. (But I would, wouldn’t I..)

Junior: ‘I’m going to nap…so when I get there i’m asleep.’

He tried. He couldn’t. He whispered…

‘I love you Mama. You’re the bestest Mama I ever had.’

It was 7pm, Saturday night. The streets were dark as I drove to do the ‘drop off.’ . My eyes filled up…but they were happy tears. It’s strange how when you care about a being so much, their gratification of your existence, simply means the world to you, doesn’t it? Lol.

He made me feel like the best Mother in the entire world. I’m certainly not. I’m doing it with ‘L’ Plates on. But if I was judged on unconditional love and fun, like most Mums….I’d pass with flying colours.

Ruby taught me strength, patience & purpose. Junior put the ‘cherry on top’ when it came to LOVING being a single mum.

I’m sure growing up in Wunna land is not that easy, but I KNOW it’s probably the most magical experience ever. Lol.

Anyway…

That’s not what I wanted to tell you about.

Saturday was a dream. The kids and I decided to ‘deck the halls’ and go see Santa’s to ignite our Christmas Spirit. He was arriving at Ackworth Garden Centre (which is known for having one of THE BEST Santa’s Grotto’s in all the land) and when you’re given free mulled wined and mince pies, on demand, upon launch day, it’s literally a parents dream! (We go to this Grotto every year…So it’s kind of a tradition.)

‘Tis the season, Baby!

I want elves with trays of free mulled wine to live in my HOUSE & roam freely ofcourse….until i’m parched.

We got there early for breakfast. We always do.  I mean that’s the great thing, because you can rock up to the Garden centre and have a coffee, speciality teas, breakfast, salad…You name it…They’ve got it. And the coffee shop is lovely! You’re surrounded by Christmas.

The kids were so excited they could’ve BURST. They were up at six o clock in the morning, harassing me and jumping on my bed, madly, because they couldn’t wait to see Santa.

Me: ‘It’s NOT YET! Lol. Santa’s not up yet!!! LEAVE ME ALONE. Haha.’

I laid there half naked, with no face on, rollers in my hair, trying to swallow swear words, in some kind of ‘what the *&*&*&$£”!!8* ‘ wake up, shock.

It was literally like an Asian Earthquake had erupted, in Boobie land. Lol.

Ruby had puked all night, yet seemed to make a recovery come ‘Santa’ time. 

(It’s the magic of Christmas.) 

I’m close to every one at the garden centre. I mean ‘Jenna’ one of my closest friends BUILT THE GROTTO! Can you even believe it! And she loved every single second of it! I certainly couldn’t build a Grotto, but I guess we all have our strengths! Lol. I once saw a pile of logs in my friend’s back garden at 11pm one night. I think we were in London? I tried to convince them to throw some fairy lights on the logs, get a Santa suit and start charging children to come visit.

Friend: ‘I’m sure we can get arrested for that, Chrissie.’

My children have literally grown up at the garden centre. They’ve watched Ruby & Junior tinker through the years and have gone out of their way to adore them always, even when they’re nuts. So, it couldn’t feel more wonderful to go celebrate Christmas and visit Harpin’s Grotto. J It’s my safe place. I have so memories great memories within those walls.

We’ve all shared secrets, had our hearts heal, our hearts break, laughed out loud, bitched, bickered, but most of all LOVED. I’ve made friends for life in that place, over the years.

Just before 2pm, Santa’s big arrival… Ruby, Junior and I went on a ‘Reindeer Hunt.’ I’m rubbish at games like this, because i don’t have the patience or the ability to look enthusiastic or to feel warm, during the outside bits. Haha. I hate the cold. Yet, weirdly, I went with it anyway…and yes, with a smile.

The Christmas Spirit is all around this year!

I hunted for reindeers around the store, inside and out. I loved it. (Even though the first reindeer I found was ‘Cupid’ and as you know, Cupid and I are not always mates. 😉 It’s a rough ‘reindeer hunt’ start!

‘Hey, just to remind you…no dude will ever truly love you…’

Yipppeeee!! Merry Christmas!

Anyway, out of nowhere, like some kind of whirl of a swizzle, I looked up for a second to screeches of joy, as giant Pikachu, Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol Chase appeared from nowhere, as gaggles of joyous kiddie winks, burst with joy…(I’d lost mine by this point, as Pikachu obviously trumps Mum.) And before you know it, Christmas had started…

Santa made a GRAND superstar horse and carriage entrance, outside the garden centre, to children, cameras, selfie mania, characters, mulled wined mums and mince pies.

At this point Ruby & Junior just froze.They froze when they see Santa, because they see him as a figure of authority (lol)…The guy who’s gonna decide what ‘list’ their on, and upon that list picking will hand out presents accordingly. Plus, even though they’re nuts, they’re the politest human beings when it comes to respecting their elders etc…(School taught them another level of class, as let’s face it Wunna Land certainly didn’t. Haha)

It was jolly! It was mesmerizing.

It was exactly, where I wanted to spend my afternoon. I wouldn’t have wanted to be any where else int he world, but there, at that precise moment. My world was complete.I loved watching their hearts flutter….

Then like lighting, they zoomed to the Grotto entrance, to try and shimmie in first…(They went in second lol) and forget the kids, OH MY GOSH, I WAS IN ABSOLUTE AWE, of how amazing the Grotto was!!

It’s always good at the Garden Centre..But this year IT IS UNREAL.

It wasn’t the usual, every Christmas day, shopping centre, give up the ‘be grudging’ pences, walk behind a curtain, get a gift and leave in 3 minutes, after a piccie, kind of thing.

It was…well IS… AND ADVENTURE.

If I could describe the moment as anything…I’d say it was discovering Narnia, at the back of your wardrobe…Yet, instead of lions and witches, you found workshops and happy penguins….I was lost in the magic of the North Pole. That’s where you get your ticket to…and the FIRST THING you can do, (if you wish) is sit and write Santa a letter, IN a mini elves workshop, that you POST.

ALL LETTERS POSTED, GET AN ACTUAL REPLY FROM SANTA!!!!

(That’s even BEFORE, you enter the red garden gates, which is guarded by an elf…as the beginning of the Grotto adventure, lies right before your very eyes.)

You follow a red painted trail, through the snowy North Pole, where you are surrounded by ice skating polar bears, snow balling penguins, the Polar Express train, fairy light cabins…It’s like an never ending adventure. Ruby and Junior discovered a magical moment, with every step they took. They couldn’t have been more stimulated. They couldn’t have been more excited to see Santa.

When we got to his cabin…an Elf stopped us…I didn’t realise, because I was still enthralled with my North Pole journey.

Me: ‘Oh! Sorry! Lol. Have they run in?’

Then as I entered the cabin, to my left was Santa, in a white glowing light…and to my right wasa workshop, sky HIGH with GIFTS!

(I left the kids to secret Christmas whispers with the most nurturing Santa, I had ever seen, as I selfied. 😉 )

He even remembered them from being tiny. My little heart melted. I remember just looking at them and thinking, ‘this is what life is about….’

(Then I thought, ‘shit, I better Insta Story it.’ 😉 )

Now, because it was the launch, both children received TWO GIANT GIFTS FROM SANTA EACH!

If you go to the Ackworth Garden Centre Grotto, you know that the gifts they give out are THE MOST SUPERIOR gifts, in all Grotto history. For the last 7 years, i’ve been to EVERY GROTTO, in all the land…and i’m kinda always disappointed with the gifts that the kids have received (lol) FROM other GROTTOS. (Mainly because you kinda pay a lot for your children to visit Santa, no matter what Grotto, you venture to. So you kinda want the experience and the gift, to be worth it!)

The wonderful thing about the Garden Centre, is that it is FAMILY RUN, business…Not a corporate ‘money hungry/get them in and out’ shindig. Simon and Fiona (who own the garden centre) have children who were once tiny…and did the whole Grotto thing…So THEY know, as parents…and by watching their own children grow….They know what everyone wants!)

For my children, I always lust after ‘the experience’ of it all. I’m a service girl, aren’t I! Nothing is classier, than this Grotto. I could LIVE IN IT! Haha.

Everything from beginning to end, was remarkable.

Junior’s TWO current favourite toys, are ‘Tractors’ and Dustbin Lorries.(He opened his huge boxes…Inside he found a ‘Tractor’ in one…and a ‘Dustbin Lorry’ in the other.

Ruby’s artsy….and she received a beautiful ‘string art’ maker and the cutest vanity treasure chest box, which came with various stationary.

The gifts were crazy. You’d pay so much for them in stores. I was shocked!

Our hearts were filled with joy. Our lives were filled with Christmas. I even had to go thank the owners and Jenna afterward because it was done so incredibly well…that I couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it!!!

Ruby and Junior can’t wait to go again. I asked them both to describe the Grotto for you, because let’s face it, that’s why we do it….

Ruby said, ‘It was magical. It was gorgeous. It felt precious. Can you get Jenna to build one in our house?’

Junior said, ‘It was filled with happiness!!!! Santa knew my NAME!! 😉 I got the dustbin lorry that I saw at Toy town!! ‘

So Mums, Dad’s and everyone in between…between your mulled wined sips this Crimbo….Please DO take  a moment, to visit Harpin’s Grotto, at Ackworth Garden Centre.

It’s your ticket to the North Pole!

 

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