Katie Holland: Santa Claus is coming to town – on a speedboat in scuba gear

Are we there yet? Santa has gone and got himself a life

'Tis the season to be jolly, so let's get down to business. Just for a moment, forget all talk of austerity and think only happy thoughts – the kids will love you for it. As if to compensate for all the bad stuff, this year there are more ways than ever to keep them feeling truly hysterical throughout the festive season.

For a start, Father Christmas is working overtime – and he's popping up in the oddest of places. No longer content to sit in a corner of your local department store, Santa has gone and got himself a life. You can now find him scuba diving in Cheshire (blueplanet aquarium.com), where he's braving shark-infested waters to deliver his gifts; cruising on Windermere (winder mere-lakecruises.co.uk); and hitting the snowy slopes of Hemel Hempstead (thesnowcentre.com). In London, he appears to have morphed into a penguin and renamed himself Father Fishmas (visitsealife.com).

But the trip my children are most excited about is the Father Christmas rib ride. Take the family whizzing down the Thames at 35 knots, accompanied by Santa's little helpers, festive tales, and carols serenading you all the way. The Jingle Bell Blast departs today from the London Eye. You'll have to get your skates on – all other dates are sold out (020-7928 8933; londonribvoyages.com;£32.50 for adults, £19.50 for children).

For those who prefer their kids to have a more authentic Christmas experience, why not treat them to an overnight stay in a stable? This year, Bethlehem has come to Brighton, where you can now book your very own "stable-cation". Accommodation comes complete with shepherds' outfits, a straw bed, a manger, and a resident donkey – and the owners have added a touch of mood lighting, heating and Wi-Fi just to keep you comfortable. What's more, a stay here helps to raise money for leukaemia and lymphoma research. See home-renting website wimdu.co.uk for details. Stays cost £12 per night.

If this has made you come over all "bah, humbug", then I have just the thing: a family day out at an alternative Christmas venue. The London Dungeon is running a Satan's grotto, where you can sing along to alternative Christmas carols (020-7403 7221; thedungeons.com; £14.50 for adults, £10.95 for children). Meanwhile, Ebenezer Scrooge is taking up residence from 27 December to 1 January at the Museum of London Docklands (020-7001 9844; museumin docklands.org.uk; free admission). You and your brood can exchange moans and groans with the biggest Christmas grump of them all – and it costs just £5 to meet him.

k.holland@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    ICE ICT: Lead Business Consultant

    £39,000: ICE ICT: Specific and detailed knowledge and experience of travel sys...

    Day In a Page

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
    Paris Fashion Week

    Paris Fashion Week

    Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
    A year of the caliphate:

    Isis, a year of the caliphate

    Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
    Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

    Marks and Spencer

    Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
    'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

    'We haven't invaded France'

    Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
    Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

    Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

    The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
    7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

    Remembering 7/7 ten years on

    Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
    Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

    They’re here to help

    We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
    Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

    Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

    'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
    What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

    What exactly does 'one' mean?

    Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue