Our Inspiration: Michael, Matthew, Christian and Joseph Battle
LaplandUK began in 2006, when husband and wife team Mike and Alison Battle developed the original and innovative idea of recreating Father Christmas’ mythical Arctic homeland here in the UK.
The company was born out of their personal frustration at the lack of quality magical Christmas experiences on offer to their own four children in the UK when first venturing into the world of Father Christmas visits with their young sons.
The Battles were dismayed that a subject as important to parents as their children’s precious belief in Father Christmas had been passed to retail outlets whose motivation in offering ‘Santa’ visits was to attract more shoppers.
It was disappointing and frustrating to Mike and Alison that nowhere in the UK was really catering for the needs and wishes of parents by offering a magical experience where both children and their families could celebrate the joys of childhood innocence and traditional Christmas values in a charming, high quality and authentic way for those few wonderful but fleeting years in a family’s life when children wholly believe in Father Christmas – ‘Christmas Magic’.
Now in its tenth year, award winning LaplandUK has entranced and captivated thousands of young children receiving national and international acclaim together with royal and celebrity patronage for its unique Christmas experience. Described by Mumsnet founder Carrie Longton as ‘the Rolls Royce of Christmas experiences’, LaplandUK is regularly featured on national TV and in the press and is widely regarded as the company putting the magic back into Christmas.
The Magic Makers of LaplandUK
Over the last twenty years Sonja, an American national, has worked with some of the world’s most talented Directors in the industry. Sonja’s credits include Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, X Men First Class, American Gangster, Prometheus, Merlin, Alice in Wonderland, The Odyssey, Tomb Raider and most recently Mr Selfridge, for ITV
Sonja translates her passion for creativity and innovation to the live environment designing premium events for clients such as Bulgari, Nokia and Cartier and film premiers including The Golden Compass and the Great Gatsby
Sonja’s latest showreel can be viewed here.
Master Rocking Horse and Prop Maker to LaplandUK
Stevenson Brothers are world renowned for producing exquisite handmade rocking horses. With an established history and well deserved international reputation, each horse is unique and expertly hand crafted with skilled craftsmanship and attention to detail, creating coveted collectibles such as the Dapple Grey (a favourite of Queen Victoria) and Tinkerbell, as presented to Her Majesty The Queen
For further information, visit www.rockinghorses.uk.net
Caroline is a multi talented creative with a 360 degree vision. She has been the photographer of choice for George Michael’s most recent tour ‘Symphonica’, and has recently been commissioned to photograph Pearl Lowe, Anna Friel, Joanna Lumley, Evgeny Lebedev, Judi Dench, Meg Matthews to name but a few. Caroline’s work graces publications such as The Sunday Times, Style Magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Independent, YOU Magazine, and many more
For further information, visit www.carolinetrue.com
Trevor’s career has spanned three decades in special effects, working with some of the best creatives in the film Industry. In 2007 Trevor won the Academy award and Bafta for Best SFX for the Golden Compass. His extensive filmography includes Prometheus, Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan, The Golden Compass and Mission Impossible to name a few
Master Scenic Artist
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1954, James’ awards include the Andrew Carnegie Prize and Athena international art award. Since the 1980s James has worked as a scenic artist in the film industry on feature films such as Star Wars, The Mummy, Troy, Tomb Raider, The Da Vinci Code, to name a few (for more information on James’s film projects please visit www.imdb.com).
World leader in snow and winter effects
Snow Business is the world leader in snow and winter effects and has been transforming Hollywood film sets, creating beautiful ads and delivering world class events for 30 years
Dan Wilson joined the LaplandUK team in 2012 as a highly experienced event producer who specialises in managing large-scale outdoor events. Past projects have included the six-month run of the 360 degree Peter Pan Theatre in Kensington Gardens, Site Manager at Reading Rock Festival, Bestival on the Isle of Wight and Field Day in Victoria Park. Dan also held the position of Infrastructure Manager for 8 years at the world acclaimed Frieze Art Fair in Regents Park.
Maria’s career as a dancer has seen her perform in pantomimes, summer season’s and West End shows, she worked on the original Fame musical and original Saturday Night Fever musical she also had a part in the Mamma Mia movie.
In the last seven years Maria has focused on teaching and choreography, including in Geneva where she runs musical theatre workshops. She recently choreographed Annie Jnr for London’s Arts Theatre. This is Maria’s third year with LaplandUK
Ria graduated in Theatre Design in 2003 and has worked around the world as a prop, puppet and costume maker. Film credits include The Boat that Rocked and Last Chance Harvey. TV includes Big Brother and The Apprentice (co-creator of the infamous Pants Man). Theatre includes productions of Avenue Q, Count Duckula, and Into The Woods.
Ria joined the team at LaplandUK in 2012 and works year-round to ensure all the Elves look their best for Christmas, not to mention the big man himself. She and her team relish in being hair-stylists to Mother Christmas, groom to Rudolph, and not so much sorters of the elves’ dirty socks.
Alex (AKA Lucas Antics) works as a freelance illustrator and artist, undertaking both private and commercial commissions. Her quirky, humorous designs can be seen across Bristol. Alex is gradually extending her mural work internationally, introducing humour and beauty into the world of street art. For further information, please visit: www.lucas-antics.com
Father Christmas Around The World
Christmas is celebrated the world over as a magical time of the year that brings families together in a celebration of goodwill. Each country has its own traditions, myths and legends associated with this very special time of year.
Here in the UK, Father Christmas was originally part of an old English midwinter festival to celebrate the forthcoming spring. Dressed in green, Old Winter or Sir Christmas as he was known would wander from house to house feasting with families as a sign of goodwill rather than delivering gifts. It wasn’t until the Victorian times that he was seen in red on Christmas cards, as a result of both the charming description of him as popularised by the writer Clement Clarke Moore in his much loved poem of 1822 ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ and the red bishop robes as worn by St Nicholas.
The name Santa Claus was created in America when the Dutch settlers, who founded New York, brought with them the legend of Sinter Klaas, the Dutch name for St Nicholas, a fourth century, red robed, Turkish bishop who cared for the poor and was said to be a patron saint of children. Santa Claus is the American pronunciation of Sinter Klaas.
Orphaned and left with a large inheritance as a teenager, St Nicholas liked to give money to the poor and needy without them knowing. Legend has it that one day he climbed on to a rooftop to drop a purse of gold down the chimney of a father unable to afford the wedding dowries of his three daughters… it landed in a stocking drying by the fire! And so the tradition of a kindly gift bearer bringing presents down the chimney was created.
In olden times St Nicholas delivered his gifts by hand. Nowadays Father Christmas has a sleigh and team of reindeer to help him with his task. For this reason his home is where the reindeer live in Lapland, an area in the Arctic Circle that spreads across Finland, Sweden, Norway, Russia. It is there that you will also find the proud and traditional nomadic reindeer herders, the Sami.
And as they say there Buorit juovllat! (Merry Christmas!)
Father Christmas across the globe
Father Christmas is loved across the globe and known by so many names, some of which are listed here:
Afghanistan Baba Chaghaloo
Brazil Papai Noel
Canada Santa Claus
Chile Viejito Pascuero
China Shengdan Laoren or Dun Che Lao Ren
Croation Djed Mraz
Czech Republic Ježíšek
Ecuado Papa Noel
Egypt Baba Noël
France Père Noël
Iraq Baba Noel
Ireland Daidí na Nollag
Italy Babbo Natele or La Befana
Lithuania Kaledu Senelis
Mexico San Nicolás
Pakistan Christmas Baba
Peru Papá Noel
Philippines Santa Klaus
Poland Swiety Mikolaj
Portugal Pai Natal
Russia Ded Moroz
Sweden Jultomten or Tomte
Turkey Noel Babal
United States Santa Claus