If you do nothing else this festive season, visit the singing penguins at Dunmail Park in Workington.

Have a chat to Santa, too, of course. He is invited by the Workington and Maryport's Lions clubs each year and by talking to him you are also supporting the good works of the clubs.

But most of all listen to the penguins. I am already wondering if I can hire them for some Christmas or birthday bash - except the one on the left who keeps staring at me.

Mind you, he is probably quite concerned about the number of times I have been in just to push his blue button to hear him sing!

Seriously, though, I thoroughly approve of businesses and organisations that make an effort. I know it is all about commercialism but you can be commercial with a bit of tacky tinsel or go all out like Dunmail Park with their reindeer, Eskimos and, of course, those penguins with the gorgeous voices.

When my sisters and I were little our parents used to take us to the city of Kitwe, which was probably our Zambian version of Carlisle.

We used to go and visit Santa at a shop called OK Bazaars and receive a treasure chest. It was a literal treasure chest except now, as an adult, I realise the chest was made of cardboard and the treasures little plastic and trinkets that were near to worthless. Not to us, though. We drove an hour to get there and the excitement grew with every mile. It was pure magic.

It is sometimes easy to forget childhood. You go to some funfairs now and you see that the rides are not as shiny, not as big as they were when you were a child.

But remember how they looked through a child’’s eyes. Remember the heart-in-your-mouth excitement the first time you climbed onto a carousel horse or “drove” a bus on a children’s roundabout.

I get so sentimental about Christmas and it does bring back the inner child.

My children once told a man that they had to buy their own presents because I still believed Santa would bring them. They may be a bit right. I do still believe!

Sometimes the commercialism gets a bit out of hand. Last year, on my way to spend a wonderful Christmas with both my kids and daughter-in-law in New Zealand, I stopped off in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to meet my daughter.

It was a Christmas paradise - bright lights and Christmas trees as far as the eye could see. There were presents galore in shop windows and Christmas carols and songs being suing - often in phonetic English from people who obviously didn’t speak the language. It was gorgeous!

Not quite as great, however, when my daughter told me that Christmas Day isn’t even a holiday. The Malaysians, in general, see Christmas as a fantastic commercial opportunity without letting any pesky little religious significance get in the way with the celebrations. It’s the Christmas tills that ring, not the bells!

Think about what Christmas means - but go see the penguins!