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St David’s unveils new captivating Christmas scheme

Wednesday, 29 November 2023 · Dewi Sant Caerdydd


St David’s Cardiff has unveiled its stunning new Christmas decoration scheme, lighting up the city shopping destination for the festive season.  


The ‘Do You Believe?’ scheme reveals the wonder and power of believing, showing the ethereal journey of Christmas letters to Santa from children across Wales as they are carried through the air by waves of light, stars and sparkle until they reach the North Pole to power the magic of Christmas.  


The new display runs throughout St David’s and is made up of more than 3,000 metres of lights – long enough to cover the pitch of the Principality Stadium 25 times – 1.5 kilometres of garland and required 15 tubs of glistening gold paint to create.  


Five magical Believe-Gauges, which are each nearly six metres tall, can be found floating above the shopping malls. Featuring sculptural motifs and magically flying letters to Santa, the gauge measures ‘Believe levels’ ahead of Christmas.  


Alongside the gauges are 16 shimmering starbursts of shooting stars, and seven, four-metre-tall floating Christmas trees adorned with lights and letters to Santa. In total, the ‘Do You Believe?’ scheme showcases nearly 1,000 Christmas wish letters written by ‘True Believers’ addressed from Welsh towns from Barry and Merthyr Tydfil to Cardiff, Newport and Caerphilly.  


Highlights of the display include the iconic giant eight-metre-tall Christmas tree in the St David’s atrium and an enchanting four-metre wide ‘I Believe’ archway revealing a Believe Gauge and decorations suspended above the Hayes Arcade – perfect for those all-important Christmas selfies. 


The hero centrepiece installation of the entire scheme is the five-meter wide Believe-o-Meter in Grand Arcade – a portal that magically transporting letters from St David’s to the North Pole. As more letters from True Believers make their way to Santa through the portal, the more they power the magic of Christmas.  


The ‘Do You Believe?’ scheme was brought to life by James Glancy Design, one of the UK’s leading specialist designers for seasonal decorations. The work to design the new display began as far back as July 2022 and took a team of 50 people a total of 4,000 hours to create. The build was so intricate, it took a team of 20 people including riggers, designers, project managers, scenic artists and electricians seven nights to install on site at St David’s. 


Luke Robson, senior creative designer at James Glancy design who devised the ‘Do You Believe?’ concept, commented: “With this scheme we wanted to create something magical, playful and cinematic. As designers we are inherently visual storytellers and St David’s is a wonderful canvas upon which to weave a universal narrative and build on the theatricality of Christmas. ‘Do You Believe?’ tells the story of what happens to letters on their journey to Father Christmas; weaving around floating trees, shooting stars and golden Believe Gauges, leading to the epic ‘Believe-o-meter’ portal transporting the letters from Cardiff to the North Pole. We hope visitors are transported on this journey alongside the letters, are enticed by the twinkling lights and have a very Merry Christmas.” 


James Glancy added: “Producing a Christmas scheme like this has been a pleasure and only achievable through a collaboration that started more than a year ago with a concept and then has developed into what you see today. We are absolutely thrilled!” 

Helen Morgan, Centre Director of St David’s Cardiff, commented: “With Christmas being such a magical time, we wanted our new decoration scheme to capture the essence of what being a True Believer really means. We are absolutely thrilled with the end result which has transformed St David’s into an enchanting wonderland full of sparkle and delight. We can’t wait to showcase ‘Do You Believe?’ to our guests whether they’re visiting to shop for Christmas, meeting Santa in our Believe grotto or simply coming to enjoy the decorations.”  


The scheme complements the Believe grotto experience in St David’s which has a new theme for 2023. This year, children can discover the North Pole’s Christmas post room and help the mischievous elves sort through letters to Santa before decorating gingerbread treats and meeting Santa himself in his cosy study. The grotto experience opens on Friday, December 1, until Christmas Eve.  


For more information about Christmas at St David’s Cardiff, including tickets for Believe 2023, visit  


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