Madeleine Hall and Burlington Bear have co-written a beautiful article about the way they celebrate Christmas in England! Read all about the author and her beloved bear’s traditions. Enjoy a whimsical moment at the Ritz in London.
Can you tell us all about yourself?
Burlington : I am a rather dapper bear called Burlington and I live at Number One Piccadilly in London not far from Buckingham Palace. You can learn more about me here.
Madeleine : I live with my husband and our two daughters Aurora and Cosette in the countryside near London. I so enjoy writing children’s stories and illustrating them. One project I am particularly proud of is our collaboration with the beautiful children’s boutique in Paris, Charlotte sy Dimby. Through the Charlotte & Burlington Family Club. I have met many wonderful families and feel inspired to create more adventures for Burlington and now Charlotte too! You are more than welcome to join us. Learn more.
Are you excited about Christmas?
Burlington : I am so excited for Christmas this year because I have invited my dear friend Charlotte, a lovely doll from Paris, to spend Christmas with me.
Madeleine : This year we will be staying at home and I have to say there is nothing more special than waking up in your own bed and seeing the children’s faces when they open their stocking presents. Christmas really is magical when you have two little girls who still believe in Father Christmas!
Apart from Christmas day we are also going to the Royal Opera House to watch the Nutcracker which is a surprise Christmas present for Aurora who loves ballet. Yet the the most exciting experience for us all was meeting Father Christmas last week at the Ritz!
Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
Burlington : My friends and I attend the Christmas Carol service at Westminster Abbey which makes me feel very festive. We then go back to Number One Piccadilly for a large slice of carrot cake and Earl Grey tea and sit by the fire. My friends help me get ready for Father Christmas; we pour a large glass of sherry for him and put a few of Cook's mince pies on a plate with some carrots for the reindeers. I put the tray by the fireplace and then get ready for bed in my favourite tartan Christmas pyjamas. I hang my little red sack at the end of my bed and hope that Father Christmas will come.
Madeleine : I thought this year was about time I started making new traditions so the children have Christmas Eve boxes filled with lovely Christmas nightdresses and homemade magical reindeer food to sprinkle on the lawn to guide the reindeer! Like Burlington we put a glass of sherry out for Father Christmas and homemade mince pies of course and not forgetting the carrots from my Mother’s garden.
I have also purchased a musical advent calendar from Fortnum & Mason which the girls love. It is meant to be an heirloom which they will pass through the generations which I thought was a brilliant idea. They love all the different music with each door and it makes me smile as Fortnum & Mason is my favourite department store in Piccadilly!
Can you tell us more about your experience at the Ritz?
Madeleine & Burlington : I think Burlington and I are of one mind on this matter! It was the most unique and memorable occasion. The girls wore their beautiful Charlotte sy Dimby dresses which have an amazing twirl factor! From the moment we arrived at the Ritz we were all made to feel so special, even the adults. There was a very amusing elf who took great care of us and spent ages chatting to the girls.
We were then escorted to the royal suite via a secret staircase and the door opened as if by magic and inside we were greeted by our ‘Family Elves’. The dining room in the suite was beautifully decorated and the children could help themselves to as many sweets on the table as they liked, a rather luxurious pick and mix!
We sipped hot chocolate whilst the elves showed us their special book with the names of the families they look after and of course when the children saw their names Cosette and Aurora written down in the book their excited gasps were just magical.
We were then taken to the next room and the elves asked the girls to whisper their Christmas wishes to a bauble and then hang it on yet another christmas tree to make the wish come true.
The absolute highlight was of course seeing their faces when Father Christmas walked in. He spent what felt like hours chatting to them and gave them a stocking each, two teddy bears which was the best present for the children of someone who writes books about bears! They were also given personalised gifts which were unwrapped very quickly.
On waving goodbye to Father Christmas we were met by a bell boy from the Ritz who helped us down the staircase with all our goodies and into the unusually cold and frosty street!
Visiting Father Christmas at the Ritz was such a unique and elegant experience which I will treasure, without a doubt it made the children’s day but secretly also mine! I could not recommend it enough. Father Christmas was only there from the North Pole for two days and tickets were limited but it is worth trying to get tickets for this incredibly special event if you are ever planning a trip to London in the future.
Follow Burlington Bear on Instagram : @burlingtonbear
Learn more about Burlington and all his adventures here
Follow our Family club Charlotte and Burlington on Instagram : @charlotteandburlington
The girls' red dresses are Charlotte sy Dimby designs