Countdown to Christmas: festive events this season

Christmas jar lanterns at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden. Pic: Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

There is no better excuse for a knees-up than Christmas time, and there is no shortage of ideas across the ELL boroughs this year. Whether you fancy theatre, ice-skating or a day of arts and crafts, this is our rundown of what’s on this season.


Twelfth Night at Hoxton Hall

December 17-18 and 20-22. 8pm

Hoxton Hall, 130 Hoxton Street, N1 6SH.

Mischief is afoot in Hoxton Hall as a rag tag troupe of players bring to life Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. The story of lost twins and heartbroken rulers features drinking, cross-dressing and mischievous pranks that go one step too far.

It’s all energetic story telling, clowning and vaudevillian fun. Bring a stick-on moustache or let the players draw one on you. Twelfth Night is family friendly in the afternoon, but at night anything goes. Get a sneak peak here -


Make Hackney Sparkle Presents: The Muppet Christmas Carol (U)

Thursday, December 20. 4pm- 6:30pm. Free tickets.

St Johns Churchyard, Lower Clapton Road, London, E5 0PD

Come and watch the Muppets tell their version of Charles Dickens’ classic tale of a bitter miser's redemption on Christmas Eve. The film screening is completely free to Hackney residents and makes the perfect holiday entertainment for families and children of all ages. Audiences will have the opportunity to go ice-skating on the rink in St John's Place before the film.


Illuminate! Festival of Light lantern lighting weekend

December 15-16. 2-6pm

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, 13 Dalston Lane, E8 3DF

Lanterns, giant willow ‘fruit and veg’, silhouette jam jars, paper bags with magical cutouts and shadow light-boxes will all be lit up in the final events of the Curve Garden’s ‘Festival of Light’.

You can enjoy mulled wine and festive treats from the Garden cafe, there will be story-telling and music and you can enjoy the Garden Pavilion decked out in festive greenery and giant paper pompoms. The lanterns will be lit just after dark on both nights.

Free Ice-Skating and Light Display

December 15-22. 12pm-8pm

Hoxton Square, N1 6NU

St John-at-Hackney, Lower Clapton Rd, E5 0PD

Free ice-skating plus a magical light display with a twist from Jason Bruges studios as part of “Make Hackney Sparkle”.


Pinned It! Made It! Pinterest Party – DIY Christmas Crackers

Tuesday, December 18, 7pm-9:30pm. £10 per ticket.

A-Side B-Side Gallery, Hackney Downs Studio. 9 Amhurst Terrace, E8 2BT

For the December Pinterest Party you’ll be making wonderful DIY crackers from the December Pinned it! board that you can either give to friends as gifts, use as tree ornaments, or Christmas Day table decorations.

For just £10 and two hours of your time you get a homemade jam-jar cocktail, some post-work nibbles and all the instructions and materials you’ll need to get your craft on.


Hoxton Ukelele Hootenanny

Monday, December 17. 7:30pm-12am

Queen of Hoxton, 1-5 Curtain Road, Hackney, EC2A 3JX

Hoxton Ukulele Hootenanny will be stripping Christmas back to the days of carols around the fire. They’ll be decking the halls with boughs of holly (well, tinsel) and learning Christmas songs, both classic and contemporary on the humble ukulele (think Mariah’s ‘All I Want For Christmas’ all the way through to ‘F**k You’ by Cee Lo Green).

Pop-Up Cinema on Brick Lane

December 18-23.

The Dray Walk Gallery, Dray Walk (off Brick Lane), London, E1 6QL

Want to do something special for Christmas? Pop-Up Cinema has brought the outdoors in and created a cinema in the snow. The entrance to the cinema has been given a twist – you enter through a massive wardrobe to be transported to the snow filled cinema.

There’s a full bar, thick hot chocolate, wonderful cakes and biscuits and ultra addictive popcorn from London Kettle Popcorn. Films like ‘Elf’, ‘Home Alone’, ‘Edward Scissorhands’ and ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ will be shown.


Music Hall Medley & Christmas Sing Along at Wilton’s Music Hall

Thursday, December 13. 7.30pm – 9:30 pm. Free entry

1 Graces Alley (off Ensign St), London, E1 8JB

Dust off your old song sheets, gather round the old Joanna, fill your bellies with mulled wine and raise the roof with Jeffery Mayhew's sing-along night of music hall classics.

‘Deck The Walls’ at the StolenSpace Gallery

Exhibition runs until December 23. Tuesday-Sunday. 11am-7pm

StolenSpace Gallery, Dray Walk, The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL

StolenSpace Gallery invites you to warm your hands and feast your eyes on a delicious collection of Christmas artworks. 'Deck The Walls' is a celebration of the greetings card in all its splendour.

The show's original pieces will include reworked vintage designs, religious depictions and newly imagined traditional scenes. As an extra festive treat, if you buy your cards in the gallery, you are given the chance at a lucky dip to win a limited edition D*Face print.


#KittenCamp London – Xmas Memetacular

Thursday, December 20. 6:30pm

Café 1001, 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL

Dress up as your favourite meme and join in for an epic Christmas meme-battle, the inaugural *Kitties* award ceremony and a plethora of festive meme-themed fun.


Silent Night at the Dennis Severs’ House

December 2 - January 4. Visiting times vary.

Dennis Severs’ House, 18 Folgate Street, Spitalfields, London, E1 6BX

Embark on a magical wander through the 10 rooms of this 18th century-style house, after which you will be able to sit down by a roaring fire in a room of your choice. Mulled wine and mince pies will be served and the curatorial team will be present to answer any questions you may have. Designed for guests who would like to exclusively experience the house and find out more about its creator, Dennis Severs, and his ideas.

Book your spot soon as they tend to fill up quickly.


London HUBs Christmas Party

Friday, December 14. 6:30pm

Corbet Place, 15 Hanbury St, London, E1 6QR

Get your dancing shoes on for the London HUBs Christmas Party. There is a secret garden and a decked terrace, hidden behind two unassuming wooden doors in a brick wall. Look forward to some surprise entertainment.

Free screening of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’

Wednesday, December 19. Doors at 7pm. Film at 7:30pm

St. Catherine’s Church, Pepys Road, SE14

Get into the Christmas spirit with this timeless family favourite in the wonderful setting of St. Catherine’s. Mulled wine, mince pies, cupcakes, and hot chocolate will be served.



December 8-28. Performance times vary.

The Albany Centre and Theatre, Douglas Way, London, SE8 4AG

A Christmas show for the whole family with live music, puppetry and mischievous storytelling combined into a new version of the classic fairy tale, adapted by Olivier Award-winning writer Mike Kenny.


Penny Arcade B!D!F!W!

December 15-23 (not 17) at 7:30pm. Tickets: £10-£18

The Albany Centre and Theatre, Douglas Way, London, SE8 4AG

For over-18s: London's most alternative Christmas party! Queen of the underground, Penny Arcade invites you to celebrate freedom and art at the final London dates of her famous censorship show where literally anything goes. Blending outrageous humour, razor sharp satire, theatre, cabaret and erotic go-go dancing with uplifting audience dance breaks.


Charles Dickens Reads ‘A Christmas Carol’

December 19-21. 7:30pm

The London Theatre, 443 New Cross Road, New Cross, London, SE14 6TA 

Don’t be a Scrooge - reconnect with family and friends and fall in love with the original Christmas story as you’ve never experienced it before.  This production is a recreation of the readings Charles Dickens used to give. Phil Zachariah (starring as Mr Dickens) and director James Adler (the founder of Eagle’s Nest Theatre) have worked directly from the original prompt copy and eyewitness accounts to create a performance that follows the author’s own tradition.


Winter Solstice: Night of the Beasts Parade

Friday, December 21. Starting from New Cross Learning (the old library in New Cross Road) SE14 6AS at 4:15 pm, or the Telegraph Pub, Dennetts Road at 5:30 pm

Join the street parade of animals at New Cross Learning Centre or The Telegraph Pub. Feel free to wear your wildest (or weirdest) animal costume – don’t shy away from the homemade. The festivities will culminate in an impromptu party at the Hill Station.



Saturday, December 15. 11am-4pm

Telegraph Hill Centre, Kitto Road, London, SE14 5TY

More than just a craft fair, Craftmas features workshops and activities for kids and adults alike. Craft Collective will transform the Telegraph Hill Centre into a festive haven where you will be able to find handmade gifts, mulled wine, and mince pies. Take part in a printmaking workshop or decorate cookies, have your photo taken in the Twinkling Craft Forest, and buy a raffle ticket for a chance at winning a handmade prize. There will also be live festive music.

Christmas Film Screening

Every Thursday between now and Christmas. 7:30pm

1 Matthews Yard, Croydon, Greater London, CR0 1FF

Christmas film screening for adults every Thursday evening in December leading up to Christmas. The film will be announced on Twitter/ Facebook earlier in the week.


Christmas Eve Winter Wonderland

Monday, December 24. 8pm-3am

Tiger Tiger Croydon, 16 High Street, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 1GT

Enjoy mulled wine and minced pies as you wait for Santa. This special winter wonderland features a snow machine, eight unique themed bars, free gifts and giveaways, plus six great DJs. Tickets are only £5 before December 21.


That’ll Be The Day: Brand New 2012 Christmas Show

Friday, December 14. 8pm

Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, Croydon, Surrey, CR9 1DG

Get ready for a party as the UK’s most successful touring rock’n’roll production, the legendary ‘That’ll Be The Day’, returns with its brand new 2012 Christmas show. The gang will be celebrating the festive season by bringing back the good times with all of your favourite Christmas classics and comedy routines.

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