'Zat you, Santa Claus?

'Zat you, Santa Claus?

Date: 15/12/2016 10:10

Whether you are in a festive mood already, or not quite there, find some festive inspiration in this seasonal selection from the DFA. Searching through the archive you'll find plenty of Christmas crackers to choose from, but today’s pick is Shopping Centre Santa.

An episode from the DoubleBand Films series, Super-8 Stories, this charming clip features Comber's Spence brothers (born on Christmas Day!). The duo take us on a tour of the Christmas Grotto that they built for the Ards shopping centre in the 1980s.

So come, take a walk through the Winter wonderland and visit Santa - parachuted into the shopping centre for this special occasion!


Even though snow is not an essential part of Christmas in this part of the world, it sure makes it much more fun. The coast of Northern Ireland, however, usually sees only few days of snow lying on average each year with a few more deeper inland. There are some exceptions though …

It all started on Boxing Day 1962. Heavy snowfall surprised the people of Britain in the morning and it wasn’t just children who felt immense joy at the sight of the fluffy and icy cold snowflakes. Temperatures dropped well below zero and it continued snowing and snowing. Lakes and rivers froze and even the sea looked to be covered in blocks of ice. 


Records suggest it was the toughest winter ever faced in the region, sustaining its arctic temperatures and relentless flow of snow. Some parts were covered in snowy blanket up to five feet and there are stories going around about houses literally disappearing under snow. The seriousness of the situation is captured in this footage from Castlewellen where the whole town was cut off and supplies had to be delivered by helicopter. The shaky camera also says a lot about the temperature at the time.

Traffic was paralysed, schools were forced to close and even the phone lines were down, thus everyday life was suspended. Despite all the disruptions caused by these arctic conditions, many ventured out into the winter landscape for a dose of full on winter fun. This group of hardy cyclists had a blast fooling around with their bikes & snowdrifts!

The Big Freeze lasted until March 1963 with its last big kick in February when a massive snowstorm hit the country swallowing it in its huge snowdrifts. Well, winter just isn’t what it used to be …