Santa Claus popped in to St Andrews this week to check out his new grotto in the town.
For the first time for many years, the jolly, white-bearded man will be spending lots of time in St Andrews.
That means the town’s youngsters can pass on their Christmas wishes in person, without having to travel outside the town.
Santa flew in this week to make sure his special grotto is just right and that his team of elves is fully briefed to help him with the presents.
Father Christmas will be in residence in his grotto in Market Street’s Starbucks, each weekend until Christmas, with three extra days on December 21, 22 and 23, before he heads off on his annual present delivery to children around the world on Christmas Eve.
Mrs Claus will also be dropping in to St Andrews during Advent – on December 12 she’ll be enlisting the help of the children of St Andrews to make sure that all the presents Santa needs are in his sack.
She’ll be asking the town’s children to go on a special toy hunt around the town in search of any toys who have run away from the toy box.
Mrs Claus will be basing herself across the road from Santa, at Ryman’s for her flying visit to St Andrews.
Santa and Mrs Claus’ appearances in St Andrews have been organised by the Hamish Foundation.
The charity was founded by three local business women, Debbie MacCallum, Linda-anne Beaulier and Maggie Picken who have a passion for St Andrews and want to see it benefit from the various fund raising initiatives by the Trust.
The charity is named after St Andrews’ famous town cat Hamish.
Debbie was delighted that the Trust’s invitation to Santa had been accepted: “It’s the first time for years that he will have paid more than just a flying visit to the town,” she said.
“We’re delighted that he’ll be here for so long so that families can meet Santa without having to travel outside the area.”
At Starbucks it’s been all the staff who have been involved in the fun of preparing for Santa’s arrival and Manager Lisa Ross promised: “We will all be dressing up as elves and reindeers while Santa is here.
“As a store we are getting involved with the local community, with Starbucks being at the heart of the community we volunteered our space for the grotto.”
Rick East from Ryman’s where Mrs Claus will be directing toy hunt operations said he was delighted that Mrs Claus would be joining them.
“This initiative is exactly the sort of thing St Andrews needs at this time of year to bring more families to the town centre and encourage them to do their Christmas shopping locally.
“We are actively involved in the local community,” he added, “supporting schools, businesses and students and this appeal, whilst bringing a fun festive element to the town will also help to raise funds for good causes via the Hamish Foundation.”
Rick said that the whole team at Ryman’s was excited about the event and promised that they would be fully involved on the day to make it extra special, mentioning some dressing up.
And a word from the man himself: “Ho, ho, ho,” he chortled, “I am looking forward to spending time in St Andrews’ this year.
“I hope to see lots of youngsters and their parents dropping in during their Christmas shopping trip to St Andrrews.”