Stepping into Christmas set to be ‘bigger and better than ever’

Popular Llandaff North celebration, with special guest Santa, switches to new venue

Father Christmas at last year’s Stepping into Christmas celebration in Llandaff North.

LLANDAFF North’s Stepping into Christmas celebration is set to be bigger and better than ever, say organisers who are staging the event at the community centre for the first time.

The event, on December 20 from 6pm, is free to attend. There will be a live DJ and host for the evening. Children will be able to meet Santa and his reindeers in his grotto and pick up a Christmas selection box.

James Miller Miles, known as Jaylo, started the the Stepping into Christmas celebration through his charity Many Downs, Time To Get Up in December 2020 during lockdown.

At the time, Jaylo’s daughter was in primary school and after seeing her miss out on various activities due to the lockdown, he decided to “try and bring some cheer” to the children of Llandaff North.

The first celebration saw Santa walk the streets of Llandaff North delivering selection boxes to children excited for Christmas.

For the last two years, Allyson McQuade, chairperson of the Llandaff North community centre, has hosted the event at her festively-decorated home on Caldy Road. Last Christmas, more than 200 people queued up outside Mrs McQuade’s home to meet Santa.

Allyson McQuade’s house decorated for last year’s Stepping into Christmas event

Jaylo and Mrs McQuade, who are hosting the event together, hope this year’s at Llandaff North Community Centre will be “bigger and better than ever”.

“Stepping into Christmas intends to bring joy to people of all ages. I think it’s fair to say we make Christmas special here in Llandaff North and we’re aiming to keep that magic alive this year,” said Jaylo.

“Christmas is a time for giving and sharing. After lockdown, we appreciate how important it is to be around the people we love. We give it the best we’ve got to bring joy to the community.”

The event will be funded by Jaylo’s charity and money Mrs McQuade has raised through the community centre.

Jaylo suffers with mental health issues and formed the charity six years ago to help others suffering with the same issues.

“Christmas is the time when I struggle the most and focusing on the Stepping into Christmas event over the last few years has helped me get through my own struggles,” he said.

Mrs McQuade’s family have run the community centre since 1972. She took over the running of the centre from her parents during lockdown. They have both died since.

“I hope the event this year can be a tribute to my Mum and Dad who would have loved it. The thought of seeing children and families enjoying themselves would mean so much to them,” she said.