WATCHING Dear Santa at The Haymarket theatre was the perfect way to commence the festive season.

The magical production based on popular children's author Rod Campbell's book of the same name tells the story of Sarah, who asks Santa to give all her presents to children less fortunate than herself.

Not one to leave any child without a gift at Christmas, Santa and his cheeky elf are determined to find the perfect present to send selfless Sarah.

The simple story was easy to follow for the young audience, and there was plenty of participation to keep them engaged throughout.

The dialogue was interspersed with numerous songs, combining some popular festive classics we could all sing along to with original numbers.

It remained upbeat throughout, and my three-year-old son was delighted to be able to shout at the top of his voice in response to the questions.

The stage was split in two halves, with Santa's workshop one side and Sarah's bedroom the other.

Although a simple set design, the twinkling lights from Sarah's Christmas tree made it feel magical and festive, captivating the children as they entered the auditorium.

When Sarah asked for some help on stage, my son's hand shot up, and I gently warned him he was unlikely to be chosen due to the large number of children present.

He had been asked to go up on stage just a few days before at another show we had been to.

I was therefore surprised but delighted when Sarah came and took his hand and led him on stage to help Santa.

My heart could barely cope when he gave his name confidently, before ringing bells along to Jingle Bells.

To see him so small stood on such a big stage with such confidence was a memory I will treasure, and he returned looking very proud of himself.

The most magical moment came when Santa flew over the rooftops with his reindeer, done in a way which really captured the children's imagination.

The show was less than an hour long, making it just right for little ones who might become restless during a longer performance.

The highlight for many was meeting Santa after the show, who headed to his own grotto at the side of the stage to give every child a present.

Father Christmas and his elf were a delight, remaining charming and cheerful as they greeted each child individually, making them each feel special.

While Sarah went to the front of house after the show to meet everyone as they left, much to the excitement of my son who had clearly taken to her infectious joy and enthusiasm.

It was a truly magical show and the perfect introduction to the theatre for those who haven't been before.

Dear Santa runs at The Haymarket until Sunday, December 8.

For tickets visit