Skydiving Santa brings gifts to kids from Afghanistan


The Sun

British parachute regiment members made some lucky children's year yesterday when they dressed up as Santa Claus and his elf to deliver presents from the sky.

Excited kids yelled "Santa's flying!" as the pair landed on the lawns of 29 Regiment's Duke of Gloucester Barracks, near Cirencester.

The event was organised by The Sun and toy firm Vivid Imagination, who provided sack-loads of gifts for the little ones.

They were also given cards and letters sent especially for the occasion from mums and dads serving in Afghanistan.

Major Alastair Macartney from Jump4Heroes said they came up with the idea to help children with parents serving over the festive period miss them less.

That's what we call getting into the Christmas spirit!

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Top ten places to see Santa this Christmas
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Skydiving Santa brings gifts to kids from Afghanistan

Father Christmas will be popping up at venues all over the country in the next few weeks - and you'll find him in some distinctly unusual places. So don't bother with your local shopping centre - we've found some far more exciting locations to see him this year...

Father Christmas will be handing out luxury gifts to children in his grotto in the beautifully converted barn at the five-star coastal resort of Gwel an Mor on Christmas Eve and every Sunday and Wednesday throughout December. The kids can also meet the resident reindeer, sit in Santa's sleigh and pet the nativity animals in the barnyard. There's a kids Christmas party and a special session for writing to Santa and watching Christmas films.

Visit Santa's Cellar Grotto at Denbies Wine Estate every Saturday and Sunday throughout December, starting 28 November. You'll be greeted by Santa's elves and taken on a ride through the gently falling snow on an indoor train to Santa's Grotto. Tickets: £7.25 per child including a gift from Santa, Santa`s sticker book and Christmas crafts in Santa`s cellar. It's £2 for accompanying adults, who'll be treated to a mince pie or two.

Drayton Manor Park's Magical Christmas runs from 21 November until 31 December. The park's Thomas Land attraction is adorned with festive decorations. Meet Jack Frost and his penguin friend Archie who tells the story of the flying reindeer, before the children share their Christmas wishes with the Ice Princess. You and your kids can meet Father Christmas in the Castle of Dreams before you take in the Polar Express in 4D and you'll even be able to say hi to Rudolf and the other reindeers. Tickets: £20 for ages 12-59 and £10 for 2-3 year-olds, under 2's go free.

Meet Father Fishmas, the festive penguin in his icy Christmas grotto at Sea Life London Aquarium from Monday 19 December - Monday 2 January 2012 from 10am - 12pm. The giant jolly penguin has set up an icy festive home and will give each child who visits a a special Christmas gift. Guests can also get up close and personal with a family of real Gentoo Penguins in their special Antarctic themed home, featuring a real ice wall, freezing touch pool and giant Japanese spider crabs. Discounts and fast-track entry are available with online booking. Tickets: £17.14 for adults and £12.66 for children. Book online and visit after 3pm for the best-value tickets and the chance to catch the penguins' last feed of the day at 4pm.

  

Take to the snow and visit Santa in his own chilly environment at the Snow Centre. The jolly old chap will be appearing on Christmas Eve between 10am and 5pm, and there's no need to book. If your little ones just can't wait until Christmas Eve to get festive then you can take them along to the Snow Garden which is open every weekend until Christmas.

Where better to see the real Father Christmas this winter than at his home in Finnish Lapland? Santa’s Resort in Kakslauttanen will be a hit with kids and adults alike. The Kakslauttanen hotel and igloo village is located in the Saariselkä region amidst beautiful Lapland scenery in the Urho Kekkonen National Park. Nestled in the Arctic Circle and covered in a thick blanket of real snow, Santa’s Resort is a 15 minute drive from Kakslauttanen Village. Delightful tales of elves, presents and enchantment await, and an impressively decorated 50 metre bridge will take visitors to the ‘Golden Elves’ hut where they can enjoy hot drinks and gingery treats. Check out www.visitfinland.com for more information.

You can visit Santa in his grotto at Willows Activity Farm where you'll even receive a golden key to get into his personal Toy Shop where kids will be able to chose any gift they like. You can also make your own Christmas bear in the 'make-a-bear' area. If that's not enough festive fun, get your Elf Passport and become a Willows elf or complete the Reindeer Hunt and claim your magic reindeer dust. This event runs from 25 November to 15 December.

How about a festive Santa Cruise on England’s largest lake? The yuletide cruise departs from pretty Bowness in the Lake District and lasts an hour and a half, providing a perfect opportunity to take in the frosty fells and spectacular sparkling scenery. Little ones will be spoiled onboard with Christmassy games and entertainment as well as a wrapped gift to take home with them, while grown-ups can enjoy a break from frantic festive preparations and relax with sherry and mince pies. The Santa Cruises run on the 12, 13, 19 and 20 of December and cost £10.40 per person or £5.20 for children. Tickets must be pre-booked and early booking is advisable. For more information, visit Windermere Lake Cruises

Love Lego and love Father Christmas? You're in luck because Legoland Windsor are opening their gates for the Legoland Christmas Bricktacular! You'll be able to journery to the heart of the park on the Bricksmas Express where you can make your own cards in the Elves workshop before making your way to Mrs Christmas' kitchen for some yummy seasonal treats. Then you can meet the big man himself in the festive cabin where the kids will receive their own special Lego gift.
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