You'd better watch out: it can cost up to €130 to visit santa
A visit to Santa could soon be the preserve of the wealthy - a family of six can expect to pay as much as €130 to see Father Christmas this year.
In recent years, Santa 'experiences' have started to replace quick (and cheaper) visits to grottos in local shopping centres. Those experiences usually include meeting Mrs Claus, the elves and Rudolph - and a visit to Santa's grotto.
Gone are the days when adults could accompany their children on visits to Santa for free - and this has considerably pushed up the price.
Tayto Park charges €26 for a child aged three and over to visit Santa, €14 for younger children - and €14 per adult. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a paying adult. That adds up to €132 for a family of six - assuming all children are over the age of three.
Christmas Island in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, charges €16.50 per child (aged between seven months and 14 years) and €12.50 per adult. Tickets include a train ride on the 'North Pole Express', a 'sleigh boat' trip to Santa's Grotto and a visit to and gift from the big man himself. The 'elves' there will take pictures of you during your visit - which spares you the expense of buying photos.
A family of six would pay €80 for the 'Rathwood Santa Adventure' in Carlow as a ticket costs €15 per child and €10 per adult. The Rathwood Adventure includes a journey on board the Santa train, a forest walk to Santa's 'woodland home' and a gift from Santa.
Your chances of booking a visit to a popular Santa attraction for a weekend in December are slim at this stage.
For example, early last week, Rathwood was already almost fully booked for every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in December. It's a similar story for Christmas Island.
Indeed, families started to book places for Santa attractions as early as last September.
Of course, the ultimate Santa trip is to visit him in Lapland in the North Pole - but you'll need deep pockets, particularly if you have a larger family.
Expect to pay almost €5,000 for a one-night trip to Lapland for a family of six; or almost €6,500 for a two-night trip.
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