Twinkle Jingleberry and Curly Fizzlepop are hard at work in the magical toy factory when we poke our heads around the door.
They greet us with delighted smiles and waves and, after a check of Imogen’s magical North Pole passport confirms we’re in the right place, they usher us over to the passport control elf check where a body scanner reveals we are all - luckily - on the ‘nice’ list: phew!
The workshop, at Cannon Hall Farm, is a thing of wonder - warm and cosy with plenty of lit up gadgetry and enough interesting stations to leave our two-year-old gazing around in awe. Our first stop is Santa’s sorting office, to lend a hand sorting Santa’s mountains of mail, then on to make a bag of magical reindeer food to sprinkle on our lawn on Christmas Eve. Finally Imogen chooses a reindeer bear and the elves begin helping her push some magical stuffing (and plenty of love, of course) inside while merrily singing Jingle Bells. As a mum who’s seen plenty of Christmas whimsy around the region already this year, I’m genuinely touched by the time and effort these elves take with each and every child, ensuring their experience is as close to pure magic as possible.
We’ve already enjoyed a fantastic breakfast with Santa next door - a full English and plenty of carol singing before Santa dropped down the chimney (yes really!) to say hello to the children - and now, after an hour playing in the toy factory, we’re off to the grotto to see the man himself.
Santa rubs his eyes sleepily as we’re shown into his wooden cabin and lets out a gentle ‘ho ho ho.’
“I’ve just awoken form a long winter’s nap,” he tells Imogen, his eyes shining above his white whiskers.
“I’m very excited to see you Imogen, are you getting excited for Christmas?”
After chattering away for a few minutes like old friends, Santa gets down to business and asks what my little girl is hoping for under the tree this Christmas. She gives him her standard response (“presents please”) before being presented with a little gift to thank her for visiting him.
It’s been a fantastic couple of hours, and our visit to the workshop may be over, but the festive fun continues outside. Our family ticket include farm admission and we decide to go and say hello to Santa’s real reindeer, Dasher and Dancer, who’ve popped in for the day, before taking a ride on Santa’s Sleigh Tractor. Festive perfection.
Cannon Hall Farm’s Toy Factory experience is running daily December 17 - 24, but must be prebooked online at Cannon Hall Farm
This Saturday, the warehouse at 92 Burton Road will be transformed for some Village Screen festive magic, with a showing of Miracle on 34th Street. The event will kick off at 2.30pm with Christmas music and local street vendors serving food and hot drinks, as well as a bar.
Audiences will be seated at 4pm for the film.
Bring blankets and snuggle down. Visit The Village Green Events for tickets.
Snow White is back in the city - oh yes she is!
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is back in the city as the fun-packed, family panto returns to Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre.
Starring Coronation Street’s Wendi Peters, CBeebies favourite Phil Gallagher and Sheffield pantomime legend Damian Williams, the show is once again written by Paul Hendy and produced by Evolution.
A spokesman for the show, which launched on Friday and will run until January 8, said: “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has strong casting, stunning costumes and scenery, and a genuinely funny script.
“Last year’s pantomime was seen by over 46,000 people and tickets are already selling fast!”
There will be a relaxed performance this Friday at 10.15am, for those will additional needs or learning disabilities.
‘Frozen’ unfolds on ice in the city
Everybody’s favourite Frozen characters will be brought to life in Sheffield this week, as Disney on Ice arrives in the region!
Join Anna, Elsa and the rest of the gang in a fantastical winter wonderland beyond imagination as the kingdom of Arendelle takes over Sheffield Arena to tell the magical Academy Award winning tale of the royal sisters.
A spokesman for the show, which starts in Sheffield tomorrow and has ten performances running until Sunday December 18, said: “Be magically whisked away to wintry Arendelle by dazzling special effects and astonishing skating as you sing and dance along to inspiring songs including ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Do You Wanna Build a Snowman.’
“Join Anna and Elsa, the hilarious snowman Olaf, Kristoff and Sven, as they journey to discover that true love is the most magical power of all!
“Hosted by Mickey and Minnie, and with special appearances by beloved Disney Princesses and characters from all-time favourites like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Lion King, this unforgettable celebration of love and friendship will leave your family with memories to last a lifetime.”
Visit sheffield Arena for tickets.
Up the Beanstalk
Rehearsals are well under way for Manor Operatic Society’s production of family favourite Jack and the Beanstalk, which will be coming to the stage in the city this festive season.
The society’s annual production will be at the City Hall from December 27 with performances running until January 8.
A spokesman for the society said: “You can expect thrills, spills and plenty of laughs as the famous story is brought to life on stage, complete with rousing sing-alongs, spectacular dance routines and hilarious slapstick comedy, as well as plenty of audience participation.
“Don’t miss out on this year’s enchanting family production!” Visit www.manoroperatic.com or call 01709 365108 to buy tickets, which are £5.50 each.
A few more things to try...
Visit The Moor on Saturday, from 11am to 3pm, to make a winter scene full of snowflakes, icicles, trees and birds using paint and everyday objects, as part of artist Richard’s Winter Printer festive workshop.
Have some festive fun in the woods at Ecclesall Woods next Tuesday.
Make some natural Christmas decorations, toast marshmallows and pop corn around the campfire, at 10am-2pm, and 1.30pm-3.30pm.
A festive underground sing-along underground at Treak Cliff Cavern will be held this Saturday, including mulled wine, mince pies, a guided tour and a visit to Santa for young visitors. Call 01433 620534 for tickets.
Revel in the Magic
The Snowman, Sheffield City Hall, Thursday December 15
Something magical is happening this Christmas...
Some of the UK’s top musicians will be in the city this week, performing Howard Blake’s beautiful soundtrack to the hit film The Snowman.
The iconic music – including Walking In The Air – will be played in perfect synchronicity with the film as it is shown on the big screen at Sheffield City Hall this Thursday.
Share in the magic of The Snowman.
A Child’s Christmas in Wales, University of Sheffield, Sunday, December 18
A festive fairytale treat for all the family, A Child’s Christmas in Wales chronicles Dylan Thomas’s own childhood memories and remains one of his most popular and loved works.
In this wonderful adaptation for strings – held at the University of Sheffield this Sunday at 6pm – step into December days ‘as white as Lapland,’ where mischief is easily found, snowballs are hurled, and the curious grown-ups are shrewdly observed.
What the Dickens?
What better way to spend Christmas than with a live production of everybody’s favourite festive tale?
A Christmas Carol is the magical and comic adaptation of Dickens’ classic story in which children become the heroes, villains and ghosts with no rehearsal or preparation necessary.
Two incredible storytellers need your children’s help at Wentworth Castle on Tuesday December 20, at 12pm and 2pm. Book places.