Christmas festivities are in full swing at Castlegate Shopping Centre with a range of free festive activities for all ages.  Musical entertainer Christopher Dakers performs each Monday throughout December (except Christmas Day), with some festive swing sounds, as part of the centre’s Jolly Holly Christmas community celebrations.

Dakers will entertain customers on Mondays from 10.00am to 10.30am, 10.45am to 11.15am and 11.30am to 12 noon.  Customers also can enjoy a free hot drink and a mince pie or slice of cake from the centre’s pop-up cafe on Mondays from 10am to 12 noon.  The event is free of charge and for customers who are able to make a donation, funds are being raised for Middlesbrough & Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.

Centre Manager Karen Eve commented “We wanted to build on our successful Cup of Festive Kindness campaign last year where we entertained elderly members of our community for a day.  This year, as part of our Jolly Holly Christmas campaign, we’d like to offer a cup of festive cheer and invite customers to come along and have a hot drink and mince pie and enjoy the entertainment.

“It is a great reason to visit the centre, to bring a friend, neighbour or someone who may be lonely or may not easily be able to get out and about, and spread some Christmas cheer.

“We are committed to our local community and we’ve lots of things happening throughout December for and involving our community.  We’ve local schools and businesses coming in to entertain everyone and lots of activities planned to get us ready for a Jolly Holly Christmas!”

Commenting, shopper Sandra Large of Stockton said:  “The shopping centre is a perfect community meeting place and Castlegate have gone that extra mile to bring shoppers together with their pop-up festive tea room. If you don’t join in, you get left in the wings. The tea is great too!”

Following the Christmas wreath and woodland workshops, local school choirs will sing traditional carols and festive songs on Wednesday 6, 13 and 20 December from 10am to 11am.  Santa’s Present Monitors pay a visit on the 9 December with shows taking place at 11.30am, 12.30pm and 1.30pm. There is also a Christmas card making workshop on the 10 December, from 11am to 2pm, materials are provided and this workshop is being hosted by Kath Hardy”.

Shoppers are invited to come along on 16 December, 10am to 3pm, to a children’s Magical Reindeer Food Workshop where a box can be created for everything needed for Christmas Eve, including reindeer food, a whistle to attract the herd, candy canes and more!

Santa’s grotto is open until Christmas Eve, Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 5pm, 6pm on Thursdays and 3pm on Sundays. Entry fee to the grotto, including sweets, costs £1 with all proceeds donated to Middlesbrough & Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.

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