(Disclaimer: This news story should not be shared with True Believers).
Spread a Smile’s Father Christmas goes by the name of Aaron Spendelow when he is not busy at the North Pole. Alongside his festive activities, he has been an entertainer with Spread a Smile since 2020, bringing his talents as a storyteller to support our work spreading smiles to seriously ill children and young people and their families. For the past couple of years, he has joined Spread a Smile as Father Christmas in our Christmas Grotto, helping to deliver hundreds of virtual Santa visits to the families we support.
We chatted to the Big Man himself about his work with Spread a Smile and the joys of being Santa. Here’s what he had to say…
“Ho, Ho, Ho Hello! It’s January and I am having break after a super busy and festive Christmas. This year I returned for a 2nd year to the wonderful Spread a Smile Christmas Grotto which this year was gingerbread themed, so I even had a cheeky gingerbread with my hot cocoa. Spread a smile is a wonderful charity that at Christmas time provides a very special and unique experience for children who need some cheering up. The children are welcomed to the virtual Grotto with a delightful animation, journeying across the North Pole, before one of our elves greets them and introduces the children to me. I’m joined by some of the wonderful Spread a Smile entertainers with singing, magic, and of course a jolly sing a long”
“When it’s not Christmas time, I go by the name of Aaron and have over 20 years’ experience in the world of children’s entertainment, having founded ‘A Children’s Story’, which creates storytelling experiences including live performance productions for the stage, festivals for an education setting, or immersive and interactive entertainment experiences.
“I am passionate about connecting young people to theatre, storytelling and the arts and often create theatre and performances for this audience. I previously toured a puppet performance to hospitals around the UK so it was inevitable that I would hear about the incredible work of Spread a Smile. I met with the team as well as the charity’s amazing Co-Founders, who are super lovely and incredibly supportive both within the charity but also personally. The whole Spread a Smile family is inclusive, kind and entertaining and as soon as I met them, I was an instant supporter and champion for the charity. Being their Father Christmas is a very special and magical experience and a love sharing his rich voice and kind, warm heart.
“I really enjoy meeting and enabling children and young people to have a moment of escapism at Christmas. Giving them a moment to speak about their Christmas list, what to leave Santa and Rudolph is very special and I love how accessible the experience is for the children supported by Spread a Smile, whether they are isolated in a hospital room, or right up in the North of the country.
“The visits to Spread a Smile’s virtual Christmas Grotto provide a special experience that the whole family to join in with. Often families will have them filmed too for future memories. Children who aren’t able to visit a Grotto in person still get to have an interactive, entertaining and magical experience. The excitement and smiles are amazing and one of the main reasons I love the initiative. You can see how special it all is. I will definitely return this year for more magic and Christmas cheer.”
In our 2023 virtual Christmas Grotto, Santa and his Spread a Smile elves met over 320 children and young people, helping to spread some festive cheer and wonder. Please do get in touch to find out more about our work and how you can get involved to support brilliant activities like this. Thank you.