Build a Bear - how to ace the Christmas list this year
In order take two children into central London, on the underground, alone because my husband is working at the weekend, there needs to be a decent incentive. Lunch out, a glass of something cold and delicious, a special exhibition. Or, a chance to visit the Build a Bear workshop at Hamleys, in the weeks before Christmas (hey, there was wine on offer afterwards courtesy of my friend Gemma who was in town and understood that Hamleys at Christmas might have sapped my soul).
Actually, Hamleys at Christmas is magical. Sure, it’s busy. And my kids went into some kind of “want-it-want-it” frenzy. But the staff are genuinely upbeat and festive, and as good as you’d hope with some slightly frazzled toddlers, off their little heads on the excitement of Lego AND Star Wars AND teddy bears all under one roof. A Build a Bear novice, I had to be instructed on choosing a bear, its fillings, its clothes, and then joining the queue by the big rotating stuffing machine that brings the toys to life (tip – go early, as it opens, as the queue builds quickly, but you can kill time adding your names to the naughty or nice list. I’ve been really good this year.) My eldest, age 4, got right into rubbing the little satin heart before placing it inside his Paw Patrol bear. “I’m filling him up with love, Mummy.” My youngest had a complete melt down however as the bear was taken away from him to be stuffed and was only placated when his completed toy was placed in his hand, never to be removed again. An early lesson in delayed gratification. But the magic really is wonderful – bringing a toy to life right in front of them, helped by the enthusiasm of the staff who were really charming, and took their time with each and every child. We boxed up the toys in their boxes (aka kennels) and set off out of Hamleys (heads down, don’t engage with the awesome toys, try and get out with the credit card intact), and headed towards kids’ menus, a glass of restorative sauvignon as much as an excitement for me as the Build a Bear workshop was for the kids.
I received a voucher from Build a Bear but was not paid for this article. .