Joe Skarz, and his fiance Leoni Jackson, travelled to The Piece Hall, Halifax, so their daughter Millie, six, could meet Father Christmas
A dad was left fuming after paying £42 to meet Santa – but left without a single present.
Joe Skarz, and his fiance Leoni Jackson, travelled to The Piece Hall, Halifax, so their daughter Millie, six, could meet Father Christmas.
He was happy to fork out the hefty price for tickets and wanted to give his daughter a ‘day to remember forever’ after last year’s festive period was marred by the pandemic.
But he was left feeling ‘totally disappointed’ after parents and children were told they would not be receiving a gift from Santa on the day.
Joe, from Huddersfield, told Yorkshire Live : “We felt really ripped off by the price.
“Every time I’ve seen Santa as a kid, one of the memories is that you get a gift.
“As parents, these moments are the ones you cherish for the rest of your life. Seeing your little daughter with a present from Santa.
“To not have that opportunity was so disappointing.
“We traveled from Huddersfield to Halifax just to see it and after last year we wanted to make this year extra special, we want to keep doing more for Millie.
“It just makes it even more frustrating.
“People save up for days like this because it’s such a magical day, or it’s supposed to be.
“They ruined a bit of the magic of Christmas.”
Joe’s daughter Millie was looking forward to the day as they told her she’d be meeting Santa, but hasn’t mentioned the day out since.
He added: “It says it all that she hasn’t talked about it at all.”
Joe said the event was a ‘waste of money’.
It was advertised online as “never seen before show” where festive folk are “welcomed on a magical journey of storytelling and festive imagination”.
But Joe said the stories felt like they were made up to waste time and had “nothing to do with Christmas”.
They were also grouped in with four other families and forced to walk around in the freezing cold “pretending to be a train” and making “choo-choo sounds”.
Joe, a coach at Sheffield United, said only after 30 minutes were they allowed into a cabin where Santa was waiting.
But the taleteller chose that moment to tell the children that while there were “many presents around, but they wouldn’t be getting any”.
Joe said: “Everyone was just sat there, and the kids just had two minutes to tell him what they wanted for Christmas.
“And when we got in the room, the woman told us there are presents everywhere but they won’t be getting presents today.
“She just said that to everyone. Even the kids.”
He added: “We’ve never seen anything like this before. We went to Harrods for three years when Millie was little, and it was incredible.
“It was worth every penny we paid for.”
Following an outcry from parents, The Pierce Hall decided to cancel the event “with immediate effect”.
In a statement, bosses said: “We have listened to your feedback on the ‘Father Christmas comes to The Piece Hall’ event delivered by Sneaky Experience and we have regretfully decided to cancel the event with immediate effect.
“Those who have bought tickets for future bookings will be entitled to a full refund.
“We apologise that this performance has not met the expectations of some of our customers.
“We value your feedback and will always take it on board to help us develop improved experiences.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.