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Santa Claus is coming to town

Simon Binns meets Father Christmas at House of Fraser’s grotto

Written by . Published on November 25th 2010.

Santa Claus is coming to town

Christmas is coming, which can mean only one thing. Santa Claus is back in town.

The big man himself has holed himself up in his grotto, on the 6th floor of House of Fraser. And I’m at the front of the queue.

Well, my three-year old daughter Daisy is, but if we’re honest, I’ve got some questions that need answering. I specifically asked for a racing bike when I was eight, and got a mountain bike. Slack, although I understand he’s a busy man.

“Is he really in there?” asked Daisy. “I think so.”

“Will he be asleep?” “I’m not sure.”

“Is Rudolph in there?” “Erm, I don’t think so. He’s...in the stables.”

Through the doors we went into a winter wonderland, greeted by elves, toymakers and the rest of the Claus crew. Twinkly lights, trees, the lot. Imagine Narnia, but smaller and in the corner of a department store’s toy area.

We wound around a couple of corners to the door of Santa’s Grotto - I’m not entirely sure Daisy believed he was in there. I often drag her around B&Q under the premise she might run into the Easter Bunny just to keep her amused while I pick up a new orbital sander.

But there he was – red suit, big beard, jolly disposition – everything you’d expect from Santa.

“Now then Daisy, I hear you’ve been a good girl for Mummy and Daddy this year?” Santa had clearly not seen the footage of her drawing on the bedroom walls or eating washing machine tablets in the kitchen.

“What would you like for Christmas?”

“Erm...I’d like a pink bike please. And a snake called Benny. And a princess dress.”

No curveballs. This was good. “And are you going to leave some beer for me on Christmas Eve?”

“I thought you drank Guinness, Santa?” I said. “Erm, oh, yes, of course. Guinness. And..?”

“And maybe some nice bourbon. And a mince pie. And perhaps some crisps.”

“Goodness, I do get hungry, don’t I,” said Santa, looking at my gut. “Well, if you’re good, and you go straight to sleep on Christmas Eve, I’ll see what I can do.”

Daisy got a free toy there and then, and sat on Santa’s knee for a photo. From the smile on her face you’d have thought it was, well, Christmas.

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