Christmas is all about tradition and well established as part of Falkirk’s celebrations are the toy appeal and Santa’s Grotto run by the Howgate.
Entering it’s 14th generous year, the gift appeal is an opportunity for shoppers to help youngsters a little less fortunate.
Working with Falkirk Council’s social work department and other local charities and organisations, the shopping centres’ Help Desk is a dropping off point for donations.
Margaret Foy, Howgate marketing manager, said: “The appeal has brought Christmas goodwill to hundreds of children in our community and we know that this year Falkirk shoppers will once again show their kindness by thinking of others in difficult situations.
“Last year saw more shoppers than ever donate presents which was fantastic as we know what a difference the gesture makes to children who otherwise would go without.
“We receive lots of gifts for younger children but we require even more for older children between nine and 17 years so any gifts for these age groups would be really appreciated.”
Shoppers are being asked to make their donation of a gift suitable for boys or girls from birth to 17 years and hand unwrapped to the Howgate Help Desk, opposite Dorothy Perkins by Saturday, December 17.
Once all gifts are wrapped, the relevant agencies will ensure they are distributed in plenty of time for Christmas.
The centre is already bedecked with festive decorations and from this weekend, Santa Claus will be in town.
He has a brand new Grotto this year – located opposite Wilko – and will be delighted to meet youngsters to hear what’s on their list.
It opens this Saturday, November 19 from 10am to 5pm then noon to 4pm on the Sunday to coincide with the town centre lights switch on.
The Grotto will open the following weekend at the same times then from December 1 until Santa is called away to other duties on Christmas Eve it will be open Thursday to Saturday, and every day from December 15. It will even stay open until 7pm on late night shopping evenings.
Margaret said: “We’re excited about our new Grotto and we’ve also invited Mrs Claus who will make a special appearance on selected days.”
A visit to Santa including a gifts costs £3.50.
For full opening times visit www.howgateshoppingcentre.co.uk or call (01324) 631985.