Our local reindeer parade at The Malls in Basingstoke, is normally the first festive event in our calendar and it never fails to give me all the Christmassy feels. We missed it last year as we were at my Uncle’s wedding and we had a bit of a disaster trying to go to the one in Windsor instead, so I was looking forward to making up for it this year!
It’s quite a small parade but they keep adding more and more entertainment each year and even just for a couple of hours it’s lots of festive fun for the whole family and completely free! It’s always busy so I’d recommend getting there early if you want a spot right by the fences. We tend to hang back and as the crowds die down have a look at all that is going on.
The event starts with the parade itself, Father and Mother Christmas being pulled into the town centre on a sleigh by Cairngorm reindeer. Once the reindeer are settled around the Christmas tree, Father and Mother Christmas hand out treats and collect those all important Christmas lists, whilst various entertainment acts perform around the centre.
Sophia answering some questions from the event compere. She was extremely unimpressed when he called her Sophie not Sophia and she let him know it over the microphone! Ha.
Some cheeky elves with the ‘Naughty or Nice’ machine. Sophia and Ryan were good, Lucas was a maybe and I was naughty -apparently, obviously not true!
There were more elves walking around the shopping mall handing out chocolates. I’m almost certain this little boy of ours ate the most. He kept dragging us all off to find another elf once he’d finished scoffing the last chocolate he was given.
Now I have no idea what this Narnia like creature was but it was pretty weird and magical. The kids got called up one by one to stroke and interact with it. Lucas went up with Nanny and after about ten minutes of sussing it out surprisingly to us all (because he literally burst into tears when he saw it) decided he wanted to stroke it after all.
Once the crowds died down we finally got our chance to meet Father and Mother Christmas. Lucas wasn’t interested in a photo but he did quite happily give them both a high five in return for (obviously) more chocolate from them!
After our festive morning we headed for some food from the wooden huts that have popped up throughout the town centre serving things like hot donuts and bratwurst sausages and then we took Lucas for a long overdue hair cut (and he now looks like a 3 year old – sob)!
We had such a lovely festive few hours. And if you’re thinking of heading into Basingstoke next year perhaps to do some Christmas shopping I’d definitely recommend trying to tie it in with the parade if you have some time to spare.
As well as putting me in the Christmas mood it also sent me into sheer panic at how unorganised I was so I went home and ended up doing a lot of organising and online present buying. Not long now!