Sheffield - Steel City is becoming a twinkly city for the Christmas season

PUBLISHED: 00:00 29 November 2018

The Christmas Market offers unique gifts and a diverse range of festive treats Photo: Alamy

The Christmas Market offers unique gifts and a diverse range of festive treats Photo: Alamy

Credit: Matthew Taylor / Alamy Stock Photo

Christmas in South Yorkshire

The cast of Peter Pan up to panto tricks outside the Lyceum Photo: Simon DewhurstThe cast of Peter Pan up to panto tricks outside the Lyceum Photo: Simon Dewhurst

As you steel yourself for the chaos of the Christmas season, please paws for a moment to consider the plight of Brearley Bear.

This small white fluffy creature named after Harry Brearley (no relation), the 19th century Sheffield metallurgist who invented stainless steel, has lost all the items on his Christmas list. Why he didn’t shove them all in a bag-for-life at the back of the wardrobe like the rest of us, we’ll never know. Perhaps, being a bear, he didn’t have a bag-for-life. Or a wardrobe.

Whatever the reason, he needs the help of Sheffield’s best and brightest citizens. Using a special Sheffield Christmas Trail app or Brearley’s Little Book of Clues, children (and their families) are being encouraged to visit a host of free activities, light installations and interactive experiences around the city centre to help find his lost gifts.

Every child who successfully completes the trail will then receive a special gift at Santa’s Secret Sorting Office (it’s in Surrey Street but don’t tell anyone we told you). And, if they’re very, very lucky, they might even catch a glimpse of Brearley himself (he’s easy to recognise – he’s the only bear in Sheffield wearing a jaunty Santa hat). ‘We hope Sheffield families enjoy all the activities on offer and head to the city centre for a festive day out,’ said Diane Jarvis, manager of Sheffield BID, which launched the trail. ‘Christmas is also a crucial time for retailers and, with more people choosing to shop online, we have planned the activities to increase footfall and encourage families to shop on the high street.

‘Our street teams will be out making sure the streets are clean and tidy and our BID Buddies will be on hand to provide directions, advice on where to eat and drink, and rain ponchos, in case Sheffield enjoys any wintery showers in the run-up to Christmas.’

Santa’s Post Office is also open for business again at Barker’s Pool, bigger and better than ever before. It attracted 15,000 visitors last year, resulting in a heck of a lot of overtime for the Lapland elves who man the counter. And, chances are, they’re not going to get a lot of sleep again this year as they ensure every festive missive posted in the magic letter box is transported directly to Santa and that every child gets a reply.

Just in case you can’t find Santa’s Post Office, a five-metre light installation of the man himself will sit on Barker’s Pool, accompanied by a giant twinkly Brearley Bear at the top of The Moor.

As if Santa and his elves weren’t busy enough, they’re also going to be meeting and greeting children in a grotto at the edge of the Peace Gardens in Pinstone Street and in a specially created North Pole home away from ho-ho-home in Weston Park Museum’s Arctic World gallery.

After all that, surely no one will blame the big man and his little helpers if they adjourn to Thor’s Tipi in the Peace Gardens for a glass (or six) of mulled wine by the log fire or pull up a stool at The Sleigh Bar in Fargate for a hot chocolate (we say ‘hot chocolate’, but you know we mean ‘more mulled wine’).

The Sleigh Bar is just one of the many treats on offer at Sheffield Christmas Market, which takes over Fargate with its festive village of traditional log cabins offering an array of gifts, crafts and refreshments and fairground rides (yes, there’s a Big Wheel).

‘The Christmas Market offers unique gifts and a diverse range of festive treats,’ said Councillor Mary Lea. ‘It also provides a warm welcome and the perfect pitstop for hungry shoppers. If you’re looking for magical moments, there really is something for everyone.

‘Christmas in Sheffield is a very special time as our vibrant city is transformed into a winter wonderland.’

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