We met up with Alison and Mike Battle the founders of LaplandUK to celebrate its 10th year, their new book The Untold Story Of Christmas...
Lisa Snowden with the Lapland UK family
Ranked as one of the best family days out over and over if you haven't heard of LaplandUK where have you been hiding?
Now in it's 10th year LaplandUK is a magical world full of rich story telling and immersive activities where children get to meet the REAL Father Christmas. #itstrue
Don't just take our word for it either - LaplandUK has been visited by celebrities and royalty alike - we have it on good authority that Elton John is booked in for his fifth year running and the Beckham's make a annual visit with Harper and her brothers.
We recently met up with the founders Alison and Mike Battle to discover more about this magical Christmas land that leaves children and adults speechless, as well as hearing a special reading from their debut book "The Untold Story of Father Christmas" published by Bloomsbury by Lapland Uk fan Lisa Snowden and if that wasn't enough we had a sneaky peek of the new LaplandUK gift range stocked in it's new Elf Emporium (Check out our picks HERE)
Here's what we discovered about LaplandUK...
Lapland UK founders Alison and Mike Battle with Lisa Snowden
Junior chats to Alison and Mike Battle the founders of LaplandUK:
Tell us what it was that lead you to discover LaplandUK?
It was autumn and thoughts of Christmas were starting to fill my mind. We were walking Paddy, our Irish Terrier in the forest when previous memories of taking our 4 young sons to meet Father Christmas in various locations around the UK flashed before me. The experiences had all been a bitter disappointment; the 'Father Christmases' we had met were so obviously fake with their cheap costumes and joke shop elasticated beards and had no real interest in our boys. My sons were in danger of losing their precious belief which I found so incredibly sad. If only they could meet the REAL Father Christmas, their wonder in all things magical would be restored.
As tears welled up in my eyes, I heard a rustle in the undergrowth. To my astonishment, we saw a little green clothed, red haired elf hurrying ahead of us. Hardly daring to believe what we were seeing, we chased the elf and saw her disappear through a wooden doorway. We had not realised we were walking in an Enchanted Forest and have been led to the secret magical doorway into Lapland!
When does the word 'Christmas' first get uttered in the run up to LaplandUK?
Christmas describes a feeling in the elf world rather than a period of time, so it is a constant throughout the year. But when it comes to making Christmas gifts for the good children of the world, toy making begins in earnest after the July merry mid-Christmas holidays.
What happens to LaplandUK the rest of the year?
The portal to the enchanted forest remains invisible, as it is an elf world door normally hidden from the human world. It can only be found once Sage has given Father Christmas the co-ordinates in the forest to find it. Father Christmas and Mary, his wife, enjoy watching the seasons pass with their elf friends who are busy working on their many jobs helping nature year-round, such as clearing away the millions of leaves that fall from autumn trees.
How does it feel to be going into your 10th year?
Wonderful! Without the 200,000 children who have been invited by Father Christmas over these 10 years to help the elves finish making all the toys in time for Christmas, I honestly think the elves wouldn’t have managed. We feel honoured to have been chosen to help Father Christmas and share his magical world with so many families.
After all these years how do you keep the magic alive year after year?
The magic is kept alive by each and every new child, or Small folk as the elves call them, that enters Lapland. Their awe and wonder is precious and our motivation is to celebrate the childlike spirit in us all.
What do you think is the most important part of the LaplandUK experience for any first-time visitors?
The whole experience is important as it reminds us all in our busy lives of the value of family time, togetherness and celebrating the wonderment of our children. Though surely the most magical part is meeting the REAL Father Christmas.
Learning the history and story of Father Christmas is a big part of the magic – how did you discover the true story of Christmas?
Because we discovered Eeko the elf in the Enchanted Forest ten years ago, we were privileged to be welcomed into the world of the elves, just like the toy maker and Mary had been so many years before us. Here they shared with us their secrets of the elf world and explained why they had felt it necessary to gather the Elf Council and request these two very special humans be allowed to live with the elves in Lapland where a Toy Factory would be built to help them with their gift binging.
How long did it take you to write The Untold story of Father Christmas?
Once the elves had shared their secrets, we felt it was such an important story for the human world to know, we wrote it as quickly as we could! We’re very happy that Blackwells, Waterstones, Foyles and Anthropologie are helping us spread the message.
It is so exciting that it is being published for all to enjoy, how do you feel about this story reaching far and wide outside of those who are able to attend LaplandUK?
Incredibly excited. We are thrilled that the true story of Father and Mother Christmas as told to us by the elves will be heard around the world and their values shared. We’ve nearly run out of invitations for families to see Father Christmas this year. The book allows us to share a little bit of the experience with the big and small folk who are unable to reach us this year.
What is your one tip for anyone coming to LaplandUK this year / what should they bring with them?
The memory of what it feels like to look at the world with an open heart and the imagination of a child.
To find out more about LaplandUK and to book tickets visit here LaplandUK