Belfast Telegraph

Two-day-old Michael maintains family tradition with first visit to see Santa

Two-day-old baby Michael, from Ballygowan, meets Santa at Hillmount with mum Lara, dad Jonny and sister Anna (2)
Two-day-old baby Michael, from Ballygowan, meets Santa at Hillmount with mum Lara, dad Jonny and sister Anna (2)
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

Santa welcomed his youngest visitor at Hillmount Garden Centre ahead of his busiest night of the year when two-day-old Michael Smith paid a visit to make sure he was on the nice list.

His mum, Lara Smith from Ballygowan, brought her baby boy to the Belfast grotto just in time for his first Christmas.

Lara explained that she and her husband bring their daughter Anna (2) to see Father Christmas at Hillmount every year.

In fact, Anna had already told Santa what she wants this year but the family couldn't let him head back to the North Pole without taking Michael for a visit.

"When he arrived at the weekend, my main priority was to make sure we'd visit Santa at Hillmount and so we were up early and we managed to see him just before he leaves for the North Pole," said Lara.

Robin Mercer of Hillmount said they have had visitors as old as 95 but they don't think a baby as young as two days has ever paid a visit to see Santa.

"I honestly think Michael must be the youngest baby we've had to see Santa yet," he said.

"This has been an extra special year for our grotto as it was named Belfast's Favourite Santa's Grotto by the public just last week so, as we enter our 80th year in business next year, we're very excited to welcome this newest member of the next generation through the door just before celebrating his first Christmas.

"I'd like to wish baby Michael and all our customers a very Merry Christmas and happy 2020."

You can bring your dogs to see Santa today at Hillmount between 10am and 4pm.

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