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Sloane Street talks to Father Christmas

Does he ever get cross? Do unicorns make good pets? Christmas miracles? We asked Santa all our most burning Christmas questions

6 November 2023

Father Christmas has made space in his extremely busy pre-Noel schedule to spend time meeting children at the Diptyque-scented Grotto on Sloane Square. We dropped in to find out his stance on pets for Christmas, whether he ever gets cross and how we can all bring a bit of Christmas spirit to the rest of the year. 

We learned that he’s rather handy with a kazoo (apparently he reached Grade 8 on the instrument), he’ll give an impromptu performance of Last Christmas with very little encouragement, and that even parents can end up on the naughty list. 

Read on to get to know the big man better and be sure to see what he told us in 2021 about flying reindeer and getting off the naughty list…



Well, let’s see. Dolls with no apparent link to their acronyms seem to be a bit of a trend. Not that I know anything about trends, you know, but I get in touch with the elves and they do help me out with what’s going on. They’ve got their fingers on the pulse, you see.

For example, for the past few years, I’ve been asked for a lot of LOL Dolls. Now, according to my main elves, the ones that are down with the kids, as it were, LOL means ‘laugh out loud’. So I’ve found it very confusing because, apparently, a LOL Doll has absolutely nothing to do with laughing out loud. 

I’ve also been asked for OMG Dolls and I was convinced that OMG means, ‘Like, oh my god!’, but apparently not. It’s just another doll with absolutely no link to a popular acronym.

In general, a lot of children ask me for unicorns, at which point, obviously, I explain to them that unicorns are from another dimension, and it’s very hard to get hold of them. Not that I can’t, of course, I’m Father Christmas after all, but it’s a live animal. And some of them talk, and they’re sentient beings. Also, even though their poo looks like rainbows, it smells absolutely atrocious. So, they don’t make great pets. 

Quite often at this point, the children will tell me that they just want a nice cuddly one and ask why I am being so silly. And, of course, I have to concede that they are absolutely correct. I was being very silly.



Now, this is a complicated one. An important one. But for anyone who asks me, I always tell them straight-faced that it is a big responsibility to look after a living thing. And when I say a big responsibility, I mean you have to look after it for a long time. It’s not a fad. 

You cannot get bored of looking after an animal. You must love it properly with all your heart. And if you don’t, then you should not be looking after the animal. So I ask them to look deep inside themselves and if they think they can make that kind of commitment, then fine.



I have never gotten cross with a child, but I’ve certainly gotten cross with some parents in my time, ho, ho, ho! 

Some parents can sometimes forget that there are other people around. And I understand because Christmas can be a very busy, stressful time of year for adults. 

For children, it’s full of wonder, excitement and amazing things. And, as an adult, you want to make sure that your child has a magical experience when they meet Father Christmas. 

But, sometimes, some parents can forget their manners a little bit and then I have to give them a hard stare, which was taught to me by my friend Paddington Bear. Oh, we go way back, great, great friends, we are, Paddington and I. 

The stare is just a sternness that means, “Hold on a minute. I think you’ve forgotten what’s happening here. This is a magical place full of wonderful people; This isn’t the place for you to be saying or doing these things. So you must either leave or refrain from continuing whatever you’re doing.” And, usually, they will stop and remember their manners.



Well, I’ve got one of my favourite recent letters here. It was sent to me this year. I’ll read you a little bit of it. It’s the most wonderful letter. 

“Dear Santa, if you did not know that I was staying in Greece this Christmas, now you know. I’m asking for a lot of things this year. This year, I just want all the erasable pens in the world.”

I mean, that’s pretty extravagant. I know she’s only asking for erasable pens, but she wants all the erasable pens in the world, and she prefaced it with “I just want”, which is, you know, rather ambitious. 

And then she goes on, saying, “and a phone with a Pop-it case.” I have no idea what that is. I’m sure the elves know, though. 

“And two more things. One more is a LOL Remix boombox.” Now, I have no idea what that is either. The elves will. And, then she says, “Oh, and a LOL house.” And here the child writes: “Oh! I forgot something. I also want a Gabby doll. And those new Barbie Colour Reveal dolls with the pyjama party fuzzy pyjamas.” She forgot something! Goodness me! 

Oh, and there’s something else at the end. Sparkly ribbon or something. Absolute madness. It’s a completely charming letter. I adore it. But, all the erasable pens in the world? That’s extravagant. I mean, what would I give to all the other children who wanted erasable pens, hm? 

And the fact that she’s specified that she wants all of the erasable pens in the world makes me think that perhaps she’s some kind of mad genius or something, and she’s got something up her sleeve. But anyway, I don’t know; who knows?



Well, yes. Once when I was meeting some children in London in November (when it’s a bit quieter and I can spend some good quality time with the children), one day a couple of sisters came to say hello. They were, I think, about seven and nine years old. They seemed very quiet and unassuming but I chatted with them, and we laughed and spoke very pleasantly for about 25 minutes. They were absolutely charming, lovely, wonderful children. 

When I looked up I noticed that the grown-ups who had brought them in were crying and welling up with emotion and I could tell that they were not the sisters’ biological parents. 

After we had said our goodbyes, I turned to my elf at the time and said, “Well, that was absolutely lovely.” I felt like something special had happened there. And she told me that they had been in orphanages and foster homes their entire lives and they’d never had a proper Christmas. They’d never had a Christmas present. They’d never met Father Christmas. They’d never had a magical childhood Christmas experience before they’d finally been found by those wonderful, lovely grown-ups who brought them to meet me. 

They truly believed that I was Father Christmas, which I am, of course, obviously, and it felt miraculous to me at the time; to share the magic of Christmas with them and receive back their warmth. I hope that that was as special to them as it was to me.



I think it’s because of the feeling of connection it creates. 

I know that many, many, many people feel that Christmas has been too commercialised or hijacked by big stores or brands and have become very cynical about it, but I think that Christmas is all about finding that warm fuzzy feeling and being able to look at people in the street that you wouldn’t normally look at and say, “Hello, merry Christmas” with a smile on your face. 

Perhaps you are too busy in your usual daily life to stop to smile at people and say hello. But, maybe at Christmas time, you find that time, and you make a difference to someone’s day? I think that Christmas brings that warmth out in people. 

Whether you celebrate Christmas or something else that’s special to you at this time of year, it’s important to have a warm, cosy, loving, togetherness sort of feeling that unites people because winters can be hard. They can be cold and expensive and, for some people, maybe a bit depressing. And so it’s good to come together and help one another out in ways that in this busy, modern world, we don’t usually manage. Christmas helps us to remember to connect with people. 



It’s certainly easier at this time of year to feel that festive positivity, with the wonderful festive music, the twinkling lights, smiling faces, warm feelings and the odd glass of sherry, ho, ho, ho! But when I’m idling in the other months of the year, I sometimes think to myself, “How can I try and bring the spirit of Christmas time to the rest of the year?”

I know people can sometimes feel frustrated and a bit embittered so I think the best way to bring a bit of Christmas to the rest of your year is to try to put positive energy into the world. 

When you put your positive energy into the world, it will be received by someone. And if someone receives it, they will be ‘pos-ed up’. Oh, forgive the term. You see, it’s a term that I use with the elves if they ever feel a bit low. I say, “Here’s a can of positivity – a ‘can of pos’. You spray yourself down with it.” And it works! 

If you do something positive and pass that positivity on, it reaches someone else. Then it gets passed on and on and on. And that is the best thing we can do to try and make the world run as I would hope it should.


You can visit Father Christmas at Anya’s Grotto on Pont Street and at Peter Jones on Sloane Square.
For more enchanting Christmas events in Chelsea, visit

Christmas in Chelsea

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