In the words of Andy Williams, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. And, amidst the chaos of celebrating, cooking, shopping, wrapping and tangling ourselves up in tinsel, it’s so important to step back and appreciate the real magic of Christmas.
And what could be more magical than coming face to face with the man of the moment?
Santa Claus, St Nick, Kris Kringle, the jolly old man who decides who’s naughty and who’s nice…whatever you want to call him, he’s undoubtedly the star of the Christmas show.
And meeting him for a special tea at Dobbies Garden Centre got me right into the festive spirit – and probably believing like a big kid, just as much as the little ones.
The café at Dobbies comes highly recommended, so I’ve long awaited a chance to pop in and try their scones. However, come December, they transform a section of it into a magical winter wonderland, where children of all ages can not only meet the big man, sit on his knee and tell him what’s on their list for Christmas, but also dine with him as well.
Today I have two excited little ones in tow – and they’re bursting with excitement before we even arrive.
We’re greeted by Santa, who cheerfully invites the kids to take a seat in his sleigh, signalling the start of the adventure.
We spend the next few hours stuffing ourselves like a bunch of Christmas turkeys, with fish fingers, beans, sandwiches, cakes, brownie lollipops decorated by the kids and – my all-time favourite – scones with jam and clotted cream.
We all know how much I struggle to resist a scone but, as it’s the season, I’m finding myself quite partial to a mince pie too.
So, seeing as its Christmas, I treat myself to one with a hot cup of cocoa – and a story by the fire with Santa.
A cheery waitress donning a Christmas jumper brings it to the table and, I have to admit, it’s possibly the most festive mince pie I’ve ever seen.
Deep-filled and emblazoned with a sprig of pastry holly on top, it looks magnificent – and tastes it, too.
Fruity, spicy and juicy with melt-in-the mouth buttery, flaky pastry…it ticks all the boxes.
As plump as a Christmas pudding, I manage to peel myself off the chair to tell Santa what I’d like for Christmas before he heads back to the North Pole.
And with that it’s time for us to go too.
As we pile into the car, I look at the jolly faces and little full tummies wobbling like bowls of jelly and I realise Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year.
You can’t beat a meet and greet with Santa 10/10
In a garden centre full of Christmas trees and baubles, you can update your festive decor while you’re there 9/10
Mince Pie score
Full of Christmas magic 10/10
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