The Battle family's fight to keep Christmas alive has ignited their creativity to redesign LaplandUK this year.

 Exactly one year ago in 2020, the country was plunged into a tier 4 lockdown and with it, entertainment venues throughout the UK were closed. LaplandUK which is founded by Mike and Alison Battle was one of many family run businesses that fought to stay open until the last possible moment. Their passion for Christmas and their delight in seeing the wonder in children’s eyes rallied them through the struggle and hardship.

Bracknell News: Credit: Josh WilliamsCredit: Josh Williams

 Alison Battle, explained: “The pandemic crisis and its effect on our business has been biblical, as we faced challenges at every twist and turn.

“We vowed to do everything to keep our experience alive and we pulled out all the stops to put on one last show before lockdown hit us last year. We feel that we have a responsibility to preserve the precious relationship between Father Christmas and the children who visit LaplandUK.” 

During a year of uncertainty, LaplandUK not only provided hope and optimism to as many people as possible, they also were able to support West End performers and creatives through the pandemic. While most businesses were cutting back, the Battles were finding a way to up-scale their entertainment and magic, creating hope in even the darkest of times.

READ MORE: Shop creates stunning snowman window display in The Lexicon 

One year on from that devastating Christmas and it seems that the Battle to save Christmas in 2020 has inspired them to create a LaplandUK that will move with the times and be here for years to come regardless of the circumstances.

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Mike Battle said: “There are so many variables, so many uncertainties here but it’s our job to stay true to who we are and keep going. I suppose from a business perspective, I thought let’s grasp this nettle and let’s see if we can redesign the show so that we are Covid safe.

“We must progress, innovate and for me it always starts with creativity. There has been a million problems to solve on the journey that we have been on but for us it’s to deploy our spirits, creativity and innovation to find our way through.

“We have a design that we’ve been over many times with Environmental Health and Bracknell Forest council health and safety, and they are happy with how we run the show so even if the government had to dial up a little bit more restrictions or things like that, we would probably still be fine.

 “That came from us looking at the Covid problem in the eye and making that investment to make sure that we kept people safe and yet we still had a fabulous show.”

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The Battle family created LaplandUK originally for their own children to experience the wonder and joy that comes with a childhood Christmas.

Mike explained: “As a parent of 4 boys, it is the best moment to be a parent when you have a child, and you have this gorgeous little angel, and they believe in this magic.

“As Alison says, it’s the wonder years. It’s the years before information and knowledge inhabits our brain and some of that belief in magic fades, so for us it’s a really special time.

“The reason myself and Alison created the whole business was because this is the most special time in your life as a parent and a child. Whatever goes through this moment, there is a good chance you will remember it for the rest of your lives.”

On December 19, to mark the one-year anniversary of the day that Lapland was forced to close, Black Dog Films and director Josh Williams have released a documentary, called 'The Battle to Save Christmas', which was filmed on the days leading up to the closure.

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The film documents the way that the LaplandUK team pulled together; aware of the herculean task they needed to complete and the ever-shortening timeline. 

Josh said: “I think the Lapland Doc is a story of hope, bred through pure passion for the experiences of children at Christmas time, but also the joy of being together as a family in an age where parents are so very busy. When they enter LaplandUK, work, stress and technology is left behind and it’s been so magical to witness the pure joy involved in this experience.”

Mike Battle has added: “We wanted to show really what the spirit of Lapland is and what we’re trying to do, because our purpose is honouring childhood together. It’s interesting to lift or pull the curtain back and see what it takes and then also see the integrity of how we approached it last year. It would have been so easy for us to just have gone, why don’t we just sit this out, wait till the storm passes, but we don’t want to let people down and we have that responsibility.”

Rising in popularity throughout the last 15 years, Lapland UK seems to have become the Glastonbury of Christmas. The Berkshire based outdoor festive spectacular will be welcoming 250,000 people to their interactive experience this year, selling out in just two hours after opening their online box office.

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