As if to make sure that my complaints about general inactivity were unfounded, we have decided to entertain ourselves in the middle of the week.
We went to the seasonal attraction called Lapland UK, in Kent. As the name suggests, it is a Lapland-themed little village that holds a number of Christmas activities, aimed primarily at children who have not grown out of believing in Santa Claus yet.
Our expectations were quite low, as Natasha have read a number of reviews on TripAdvisor which posited that the attraction was quite underwhelming. Alas, we bought the tickets over a month ago, so we had to go anyway.
The kids, who had received a fancy invitation from the big guy just before we set off, were excited without preconceptions.
The trip turned out to be if less than awesome then at least nice. There is certainly room for improvement in making the atmosphere more festive, as in adding decorative lights in some places, playing more holiday music and having maybe a couple of more activities. The somewhat strict schedule that we had to follow required some largely unnecessary waiting periods. But it was fun overall.
The kids looked at somewhat morose reindeers, petted husky dogs, listened to stories read by a wise old woman while sitting on animal hides in a teepee, assembled wooden toys at the Elves’ “toy factory”, decorated gingerbread figures, and played with artificial snow. The adults were offered complimentary cups of mulled wine (I hated it, Natasha liked it – and had most of mine as well), but largely just enjoyed seeing kids happy.
Becky was one of the oldest children there, but grown-up lady as she is, she possesses this great ability of gracefully stepping down to a 7-year-old level while chaperoning Kimmy around. So she had fun. Kimmy was entirely engrossed in the experience.
The grand finale was a visit to Father Christmas (as the good old St Nick is formally known in these parts). If you ever so much as looked onto the queues of kids in any given mall waiting to sit on Santa’s lap for obligatory thirty seconds after having stood in the queue for over half an hour, you would not expect much of such a visit. But this one actually bowled us over.
We played our part, of course. When buying the tickets to the place, we not only submitted our children’s names and ages, but also the names of their best friends, what they liked to do most, and so on. The guy playing Santa had “the script” in front of him.
He played it very well, and for close to ten minutes at that. Talked to the girls about this and that, reacted to their answers with more questions related to their hobbies, and completely awed Kimmy by mentioning that Tessa had only best things to say about her (Santa, you know my friend Tessa? was all she could manage). Becky was smart enough to play along, and Kimmy was left virtually breathless with delight.
Which was the whole point, I guess.