Tough times hit Father Christmas

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…as parents grumble over quality of gifts

Uba Group

Like most Nigerians, Santa Claus, popularly known as Father Christmas, a living effigy designed to excite children during the Christmas period, is going through tough times. While some Lagos parents are complaining bitterly that they have been short-changed at the Father Christmas’ grottos, having paid through their noses, organisers of the events are equally caught between satisfying the children and making profit. Many parents, who spoke to The Point about their dissatisfaction, said the funfairs had fallen short of expectations.

LTV 8 CENTRE, LAGOS

The Blue Roof auditorium of the Lagos Television Station, LTV 8, in Agidingbi, Ikeja is one of the popular Father Christmas centres in Lagos. The information officers at the ticket outlet of the centre said that the payment of N600 for the Santa Claus Grotto was compulsory for any participant at the funfair.

For other activities such as the air hockey, children are expected to pay N300, merry-go-round (N300), and sterling greetings, which is a special request/shout-out programme (N500), among many others. Other food items and snacks are also expected to be purchased by the customers and school owners who bring their pupils for the funfair.

A member of staff of a school located in Akintan Street, Ketu, Lagos, told our correspondent that aside from what the kids were given at the venue, the school prepared other packs for them after leaving the funfair venue so that they would be satisfied.

A parent told our correspondent after checking the worth of the package given to the kids that, “You don’t expect much from this kind of Santa Claus. The gift is a normal pack. However, they tried because it is highly subsidised. But the kids had to pay individually before they were allowed to play any of the games. Anyway, parents just need to take their children out this season so that they would mix up with other kids, which is why I’m here.”

TVC

A teacher in a school close to Television Continental, Ikosi, Lagos, who brought the school’s pupils for celebration at the television’s premises, said that the school had to pay N1,000 per child before they were permitted into the venue.

“We paid N1,000 per child as the ticket fee to gain entry into the venue. But the payment covered three games, which were the swimming pool bouncing castle and the merry-goround. They were also given a tiny cupful of milk cornflakes. But other food items and snacks were to be bought with our money,” she said. Parents also lamented that the kids were not well accommodated.

“The kids who are supposed to be cooling off, are all sitting under the sun; yet we are to pay the Father Christmas organisers for giving our children sun stroke,” a parent said. A mother of three also noted that “the gifts given to them by Santa Claus are not worth N1,000. Can you imagine the items inside the small polythene bag? What they put in it for the kids are cheese balls, pencils, exercise books and sweets. Moreover, all these items do not cost up to N500.

“It is as if they are exploiting parents here. And they don’t have sufficient games for the kids, unlike other kiddies’ fun places.”

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