In Reviews

This year the Santa Bus is celebrating 20 years of Christmas Giving and last week Marta & her son hopped aboard for a magical journey across the city...

On Friday, we were sprinkled with a little Christmas magic by the Big Man himself, in conjunction with Brighton & Hove buses. The elves on board the Santa Bus were cheekier than naughty, with a twinkle in their eye and very kind. It was lovely that a few family members joined the elf staff of Brighton & Hove buses too.  We met the bus as it had just returned from Hill Park School who kindly shared a few snaps of the delight on the children’s faces as Santa visited them.

Santa Bus

It was a cold evening, so we were glad that on arrival, we got given our Santa hats. Despite the fresh air, we didn't miss the heater as warmth & happiness radiated around the bus. It was an open top one that Santa flew over from the North Pole because he would need to wave and shout Merry Christmas to everyone in the streets of Brighton and Hove. We were on-board to help Santa spread some Christmas cheer, the other families on the bus were lucky competition winners. For one boy in particular this was an extra special treat & his mum was happy to chat to me and share their story. Alfie is in a wheelchair with complex special needs, and is not really interested in material gifts as he has no interest or understanding of them. All he had ever wanted was to meet Santa.

Golden Ticket

Life is hard his mother says, but when his friend won the golden ticket, she gave it to Alfie to use so literally his dreams would come true. Honestly, I’m never stuck for words but was choked up and couldn’t write down a word on my return. I’ve decided now that it just sums up what the bus stands for - Christmas - helping others, caring about others, and spreading some joy. Or as Kermit the Frog sang in A Muppet Christmas Carol: It's true wherever you find love, It feels like Christmas. It truly felt like Christmas on the Santa Bus.  

Santa and Pavilion

But it wasn’t just about meeting Santa but also seeing Brighton & Hove in all its glory from the lit up purple and blue Royal Pavilion to the Clock Tower shower of lights. As someone said aboard, Brighton simply always does it bigger and better. And the people of Brighton & Hove love it, one lady ran out of a burger bar on North Street, with a burger in her hand, to wave and get a picture of Santa and the bus!

The experience was run so smoothly and efficiently that you would think it a simple operation, but I am told that the planning starts in January. I am not surprised when I think about it. I cannot believe the Santa Bus is now in its 20th year and supporting 20 charities with 20 routes over 20 nights! An astounding success.

How do you write up an experience that creates this warm tingly feeling? We have had a tricky year too as my son has struggled at school but nothing in comparison to some I know. However, when asked why he had been picked, it gave me the perfect moment to tell him why he was chosen to be aboard, because he was kind and that is the most important thing to be.

On departure, the bag of goodies with “Santa has been” on it, including my Santa Bus mug, will be treasured forever. My son came home mesmerised and sat on the stairs with his head in his hands silently which is strange for him. Then he looked up and said: “Mama, I saw him” with the sweetest smile and twinkling eyes. That’s all I need for Christmas. Thank you to Brighton & Hove buses from the bottom of my heart.

Felix and Santa

You can help support the Santa Bus by:

πŸŽ… donating via GoFundMe or at one of the Santa Bus Collection Points 

πŸŽ… being a Santa Bus Collection Point. Click here to learn more and sign up. 

πŸŽ… by sharing all this information to your friends and colleagues about how they can donate

πŸŽ… or finally - you can help support the Santa Bus by just coming out and giving Santa a smile and a wave. 

For more information go to:

Santa Bus




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