Come the festive season, airports around the world are indulging in some Christmas cheer.
There ain’t too much Christmas cheer at airports, especially for families.
Between the “I’m bored” and “Please, take off your shoes for the security screening” and “I’m sorry, your flight has been delayed for another hour” it can be fresh hell.
Airports around the world are giving parents the ultimate Christmas gift, by entertaining their children.
Here’s a roundup, from travel search site Wego:
Sydney International: Aw, this is lovely. The children’s charity Variety is holding events to raise money for families most in need. Rotary is providing collection bins throughout the airport for passengers to donate money. And Santa’s little helpers will wrap Christmas gifts in T1 and T2 for a gold coin donation.
Melbourne Airport: A live band will rock out the duty-free shop, while Santa’s elves juggle, perform magic tricks, and make balloon animals throughout the terminals.
Hong Kong International: Aside from the 16-metre Swarovski Christmas tree (no, you can’t take a branch or two home …) flash mobs will entertain passengers with a capella performances, and the departure concourse features a state-of-the-art light show.
Singapore Changi: Christmas Wonderland is a multi-sensory show with stilt-walkers, puppets, magic, jumping castles and storytelling. It even snows for eight minutes! You can win toys by posting an Instagram pic of your child with a Mickey or Minnie plush, tagged #CHANGIXMAS14. If nothing else, it kills time between flights…
London Heathrow: For the littlies, there are appearances by Pingu, Peppa Pig and Santa, while older kids will love the bespoke Christmas pudding flavoured boiled lollies. Teenagers can make the lights flash on a huge vinyl tree by tweeting with the hashtag #T2Christmas.
Vancouver International: There’s free gift-wrapping throughout the airport, perfect for disorganised folk like me who stumble through life saying, “What, you mean Christmas is tomorrow? How did that happen…?” Musical performances include the Vancouver Opera, Jennifer Scott Duo, and St Andrews School Choir.
Los Angeles International: LAX’s famous PUPs (Pets Unstressing Passengers therapy dogs) will be decked out in Christmas clobber, no doubt woofing along to performances by local school kids and community choirs.
Amsterdam Schiphol: Now that drugs are harder to come by (which is shame, really, when you’re travelling with kids…*) you’ll have to resign yourselves to roving musicians, including the Portable Radio Orchestra and the Jukebox Boys. There’s also a walking Christmas Tree (maybe you can get drugs there after all…)
Frankfurt: I love the big European airports at this time of year, with their traditional Christmas markets. This year there’s a more modern feel, with interactive, instant-win lotteries through the airport’s social media channels.
Munich: Plenty of cool places to wait for flights here, such as the ice-rink, ice slide or open-air cinema.
My top tip for a sane stopover is this: do your research. Too many times, we’ve struggled with babies/toddlers/tweens, only to discover the nappy change area/play centre/wi-fi zone when it’s too late. Bring lots of books, games and snacks to keep them occupied.
And make sure you word up your teens about the hazards of making jokes about terrorism near the security guards.
This will all ensure a Merry Christmas!
Twitter & Instagram: @TraceySpicer