Because of the need for social distancing this Christmas, the usual concerts, winter markets and festive activities have had to change this year. Ordinarily we would spend the run up to Christmas making the ice bar full of ice sculptures for Nottingham Winter Wonderland, and in towns and cities around the UK making live ice carvings and ice sculpting sleighs and ice post boxes for Christmas shopping events and light switch ons.
When we heard that a lot of the traditional Christmas activities at schools would also have to change or be cancelled, we felt very sad – our memories of Christmas as children is linked to our school days, with trips to the panto, the nativity play, Christmas parties and carol concerts. So, we wracked our brains to think of something to bring some Christmas magic and sparkle to local school children that would be lots of fun but still a covid safe event. Our ice post boxes are hugely popular every Christmas, so rather than having the children come to the ice sculpture, we thought we would bring it to them at their schools!
The ice sculpting freezer, filled every winter with ice and snow, in our studio in Hebden Bridge has a lot in common with Santa’s workshop, and our team of elves got busy with their ice carving tools, sculpting an ice post box.
Hebden Royd Town Council, who we have worked with so many times over the years making sand sculptures and ice carvings, as well as pumpkin trails full of carved pumpkins, were also saddened by the lack of festive fun this year and were excited to get involved. As well as providing funding for the project, they made sure all the letters got to Father Christmas, who wrote back and the council kindly gave each of the school children an extra present of a book to read over the Christmas holiday.
This magical ice post box would then visit each of the primary schools in Hebden Royd parish and each of the children would be able to post their letter to Santa in their social bubbles.
The ice sculpture was delivered to each of the schools by our resident elves Elwood and Elfis, who entertained the children and anybody else who saw them by singing Christmas songs and with their high jinks and silly dancing.
Amazingly, the elves took the ice carving to seven schools; Hebden Royd Primary, Stubbing Infants, Riverside, Central Street, Burnley Rd Academy, Calder Primary and Scout Rd Academy – and nearly seven hundred pupils in just four days!
Gina Blagbrough, principal at Scout Road Academy in Mytholmroyd, said: “Children have had to cope with a lot this year and staff wanted to reward their resilience by helping them enjoy a great Christmas. The children will have so much fun posting their letters to Santa in this incredible ice post-box. Their smiling faces say it all.”
The elves even managed to make a baby ice post box and took that to Little Village Learners in Mytholmroyd where Jamie and Claire’s youngest daughter goes. They were more than ready for their Christmas break after that!