Deck the hall with boughs of holly and hark the herald angels sing because it’s nearly Christmas. Ignore the naysayers and start getting exciting in November, as Slade sang ‘IT’S CHRISTMAS’, which means eating cheap chocolate every damn day, wearing wooly jumpers with pride and shovelling mince pies into your mouth like there’s no tomorrow. If you’re doing all of the above and STILL not feeling festive, then get to these 10 Christmas events in London and prepare for a whole load of cheer.
Whether he was worried about losing his ‘King of Pop-Up’ moniker or is simply some sort of culinary Father Christmas, Jimmy Garcia is bringing a huge sack of goodies to London. His namesake is located on The Southbank and includes igloos to cuddle up in, along with an Alpine-style lodge (both can also be booked for New Year’s Eve) which will be serving up pots of fondue. If you don’t manage to bag a spot there, try Winterland in Fulham where his presents include raclette burgers and more molten-cheese sorcery.
Corn beef and the realistic prospect of being able to get on the housing ladder may be the actuality of Christmases past, but who needs real life when you could have fantasy? The Manhattan Club are recreating all the good parts of 1920s New York; think Prohibition with the booze, dress-up and photobooths. There’s also a sit-down dinner, modelled on the meal served to President Coolidge at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1924, along with table entertainment such as a magician; pearls and sharp suits are a must.
And the London gods said that if ye are brave enough to traipse along Oxford Street in December then ye shall be rewarded with the gift of paradise. In this case, paradise is Woody Bear, the rooftop pop-up near Marble Arch. For the very first time, the summer pop-up is daring to bare this winter with its latest incarnation modelled on an abandoned fairground. Madame and Monsieur are in charge of the food bringing a choice of cheese croques-monsieurs and raclette, while drinks have the festive stamp of approval with hot gin punch and eggnogs gracing the menu. Or if you want something punchier, there's a coin-operated machine doling out Old Fashioneds.
Festivals aren’t just for summer, they’re also for feeling Christmasy as this six-week bonanza proves. Imaginarium is providing a platform for artists and musicians so they can bring you events such as writers’ rooms, storytelling around bonfires and talks on subjects including masculinity and economics. But the cherry on top of this Christmas pudding is ‘Christmess’, a series of parties that will put you firmly on the naughty list with the likes of table dancing, soul food, secret rooms, cabaret and live blues and jazz music.
If there’s one Great British tradition we must do our all to preserve, it is that of the noble panto, a rousing occasion keeping ex-Eastender celebs from bankruptcy. Strictly Come Drag Queen is putting their spin on shenanigans with an event that cuts out the kids and adds in bottomless booze, two courses and an after-party. Taking place at Breakfast Club in Canary Wharf, the panto includes sashaying, shimmying and ‘he’s behind you’ from the likes of Orange Gina, Shay Shay and Maxi More.
To some, winter means Fairisle sweaters, chunky scarves and skipping through the leaves. But to the average Londoner, the words ‘winter is coming’ actually mean dodging tube sneezers, putting on two stone in mince-pie weight, and trying not to cry at the office party. Winterland is in the former camp, a mecca of Christmas spirit as Neverland, the outdoor beach, is given a makeover in time for Santa. Located in Fulham, the spot is open Thursday - Sunday until the end of December and has igloos, fur-lined sofas and food from old Jimmy Garcia. There’s also a load of games to book out, including beer pong, prosecco pong, curling and mini-golf.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year; give it a magical makeover with immersive event Beauty and the Feast from design duo Darling and Edge. For the occasion, Waterloo’s Vaults have been transformed into regal chambers, with chandeliers, long communal tables, and neon signs. This is no Disney-style shindig, however, as cabaret performers and actors behave all sorts of beastly; when you’re done eating, join in with table-dancing and the roaring after-party.
Alexander Skarsgard, ABBA and IKEA's meatballs - is there anything Sweden can’t do right? No, there’s not; go and bask in Scandi glory as LondonSwedes bring their traditional Christmas celebrations to us basic Brits. Taking place in Peckham’s completely gorgeous Asylum Chapel, Lucia Nights is a series of five dates based on the 400-year-old celebration of the ‘Queen of Light’. As well as singing and processions, the event will also include Swedish beers, mulled wine, gingerbread and meatball sandwiches.
When you’re done drunkenly screaming ‘All I want for Christmas is you’ in front of horrified colleagues, make sure you do festive partying properly. South Pole Saloon is slapping December nights out into epic proportions with a huge roster of DJs and events. The Brixton space will be pairing with names such as Supa Dupa Fly, Cirque du Soul and Riot Jazz for live music, cabaret and DJ sets. That’s not all Santa will be sliding under the tree, oh no, there is a charity supper club along with a Rick and Morty House party the Friday before Christmas.
Is there anything more magical than watching Christmas movies, four glasses of mulled wine down and alone in your PJs? Yes, it turns out there is. Pop Up Screens is making festive movies all the more merry as they bring their winter edition to Hackney Showroom. The space will be turned into a snow-y wonderland with fake snow, fir trees and lots of fairy lights, while screenings include classics such as Elf, Frozen and Love Actually.