Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre is celebrating its first Christmas since reopening, so the team has gone all out.
With Santa’s Grotto, 10 trees and more fairy lights than you can shake a candy cane at, the Hastings community can now pop into Toitoi to meet the big man himself.
Toitoi kaiwhakahaere/manager Megan Peacock-Coyle says while meeting Santa isn’t a new concept, Toitoi wanted to make it as accessible as possible.
“Often when tamariki can meet Santa, their parents have to pay for photos or buy something to take part. We wanted to keep it free as we know our community are already financially stretched at this time of year,” she says.
Tamariki will be able to post letters to Santa and meet the big man himself in his grotto (see dates and times below) and parents can take their own photos, or they can buy a polaroid for $2.
Santa is also welcoming tamariki to his low-sensory grotto from noon until 12.45pm on December 5 and 12, and from 9am to 9.45am on December 19. With no music, low lights and no queues, bookings are essential, Megan says.
“If there is demand, we may add extra times, so please phone us to reserve your spot.”
She says there will also be a Giving Tree for Hastings Women’s Refuge, so anyone coming in to meet Santa (or just popping by to see the fun) can share the aroha with our community members who may need a little more support.
“The whānau at the refuge have often come out of very traumatic circumstances, so we wanted to bring as much joy and happiness into their lives as possible this Christmas. We simply ask that those donating think about these whānau when choosing what to donate. If you’re donating long-life food, consider what you might like to eat when you’ve had a hard time – tea and chocolates, biscuits and pre-prepared or easy to prepare meals with a long shelf-life are all great options.”
Please keep all gifts unwrapped, clothing items plain (no brands, images or red) and gifts for men and boys are also welcome (but please no toy 'weapons'). If donating long-life food, please ensure its use-by date is later than March 2021.
Megan says decorating Toitoi and having Santa here would not have been possible without the support of Hastings District Council and the funding they’ve supplied through the Arts, Culture & Events Recovery Plan.
“Christmas is the perfect time to come into Toitoi and spend some quality time with your whānau, friends and the star of the festive season – Santa himself.”
Meet Santa at Toitoi (entrance on Hastings St) at the following times:
30 November 2020
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