Having studied Swedish (and Abba!) in my youth, I knew about Santa Lucia and how the Swedes were daft about it. Thomas had mentioned it too, being Scandinavian, though it isn't as big a thing in Denmark, so we decided if we'd nothing else on we'd drop in an see what was going on, figuring the kids would enjoy a night out. It came Thursday night and Thomas suggested we go over for the start of play in case it got sold out. We booked online at £5 each for Thomas, Marcel and I and £4-50 for the others. On arrival, we saw the first great bargain, though I knew about it having been told by my doctor last week: if you buy a quality, real Xmas tree at £25, they give you a £20 Ikea voucher to spend in-store. I know where we'll be buying our tree next year!
Upstairs we were greeted by two very friendly workers with complimentary gingerbread biscuits, chocolates and fizzy organic apple and pear juice. We noticed that an unexpected percentage of the people are around were speaking in Scandinavian accents - they, like us, had assumed that you needed to get there on time before everything was eaten. They hadn't reckoned with Glaswegians not knowing Lucia and therefore not turning up at all! I did pass a few Scots on their mobiles, shouting excitedly 'I'm in Ikea, they're having some kind of Xmas party with free refills of food!'
Anyway, it wasn't just meatballs, chips and lingonberry jam, although you could have unlimited portions of that. (I think Marcel managed thirty meatballs and two portions of chips, and Lots had twenty). The starters included hundreds of fresh crayfish - which the kids all had fun trying, herring in three different sauces, smoked Norwegian salmon, rye bread, rye crackers, potato salad, coleslaw, vegetables, salad, and ham. For your main course you could have unlimited meatballs, chips, boiled potatoes, barbecued chicken pieces, smoked sausages, breaded chicken, fried potatoes, stir-fried vegetables, red cabbage, have I forgotten anything? For afters, if you had any space, you could have a kind of mint cheese cake, diam cake, apple cake, cream, saffron buns, coconut cakes and marzipan cakes, or if you didn't have a sweet tooth, Swedish cheese and biscuits! Of course with all this you got unlimited free lingonberry juice, coke, fanta or fizzy apple, tea, coffee and hot chocolate!
While we were munching away on one of our courses, having pulled all the complimentary crackers and put on the free party hats, another cheery worker came over and offered free Swedish Schnapps to anyone who wasn't driving and while Thomas was downing his, pointed out that there was kids' entertainment provided free too if we wanted to chat uninterrupted over our coffees. He showed Anna to the giant Connect Four.
And Amaia to the mega-sized Jenga pieces which she used to build a 'princess castle'!
Behind that staff were helping kids to decorate Xmas trees, make Xmas cards and do arts and crafts using Ikea vases and mirrors with glue and sticky shapes. Many adults were making their own mirrors too!
Finally the three wee ones danced off their twenty plus meatballs on the dance floor to 'Rocking around the Xmas tree', 'Santa Claus is coming to town' and the likes! Had Marcel not had a Spanish exam on Friday, we'd happily have stayed until closing time.
All in all not a bad night's entertainment for less than £35 for seven. The kids were absolutely thrilled and I must say crayfish and salmon and the rest were great value. The first thing I did when I got home was put it in my google calendar for 13-12-13 (with a note to bring a decent camera rather than my phone!)! In fact I have been concerned about blogging it here in case it becomes so popular we can't get in next year, but it's probably safe - my blog doesn't exactly have the same following as the Guardian!