We're just one week away from the big day, everybody! Hopefully your shopping is sorted so you can kick back at the Dinerama closing party, a Christmas comedy show or a screening of a yuletide classic. If you still have a few last minute gifts to pick up, however, fear not, as there are still plenty of places to pick up treats at fairs and markets across town. Check out the list below and let the festive cheer wash over you!
Things to do
Shoreditch Christmas Market & Winter Gathering, Red Gallery, Fri-Sat, free. Supporting local talent and championing fair trade, handmade products is the aim of this community Christmas market boasting a bar, food stalls, workshops and children's storytelling.
Fount London Christmas Experience, South Hackney, Sat, free. Visit these recently redeveloped railway arches just next to London Fields for festive and family-friendly events featuring music, street food, gifts and workshops. Entry is free but workshop prices vary.
Solstice Sessions: Winter Edition, Stour Space, Sat, £40 full day and night, £30 half day and night, £12.50 night only. Rectify the over-indulgence of December with a day-long session of yoga and meditation, sure to rid you of mince pie guilt. Yoga sessions are scheduled throughout the day and include a rave with Creative Yoga London.
Black Heart Creatives: Christmas Charm Jewellery Workshop, Barsmith, Sat, £25. Black Heart Creatives return with another jewellery making workshop giving participants the chance to create the ultimate festive accessories to wear to yuletide parties, or if they're feeling generous, gift to a friend.
Hitchcock’s Home does Christmas, Mission Hall, Sun, £12.40, £9.70 children, £38.80 family. This family-friendly Christmas fayre and film event in Leytonstone celebrates the 'Master of Suspense' Alfred Hitchcock, who was born in the area. Visitors can find out more about the man, take a look at work created by local artists and take part in themed activities.
Christmas at Charles Dickens Museum, Charles Dickens Museum, all weekend, £10-£22. The Charles Dickens Museum has an obvious right to go fully festive come December, and this year they'll be marking the season with near-daily special events and an exhibition themed around 'A Christmas Carol'.
Department Store for the Mind, Old Street station, all weekend, free. This new shopping venture from the former Director of the School of Life Sophie Howarth, is intended as a destination for those looking for thoughtful gifts for thoughtful people this Christmas. The store will be popping up in Unit 3 of Old Street Underground, stocked with gifts designed to promote emotional wellbeing arranged by the mood or personality the product caters for.
© Richard Ehrlich
Eating and drinking
Dinerama Closing Party, Shoreditch Yard, Fri-Sat, £3, free before 7pm. The final two nights of the Shoreditch street food destinations where you can chow down on food from all-star traders such as B.O.B.'s Lobster, Kimchinary, BBQ Lab, Fundi Pizza, Yum Bun and Smokestak.
Hawker House Closing Party, Canada Street, Fri-Sat, £3, free before 7pm. Hawker House is shutting up shop for the winter. Pick up grub this weekend from the likes of Mother Clucker, B.O.B.'s Lobster, Smokestak and Yum Bun.
Midnight Apothecary, Brunel Museum, Sat, £5. This regular takeover of the Brunel Museum's rooftop garden gets a most atmospheric makeover come Winter, when the monthly sessions include campfires, toasted marshmallows and the odd sing-a-long.
Beggars Banquet presents: Black Christmas, 10 Stour Road, Sat, £25. This five-course dinner, created using produce otherwise destined for landfill is the brainchild of Tom Fletcher who saves over 100 tonnes of fruit and veg each year through his banquets and company Rejuce.
…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.
© David Jones
Laugh Out London's Big Christmas Weekend for Shelter, Heroes Grotto of Comedy, Fri-Sat, £10 per day. The Laugh Out London team pulls together some of the best line-ups in the capital. So this mega-weekend of shows – raising funds for Shelter – features a ridiculously good bill, obviously.
Tim Key: Father Slutmas, Arts Theatre, Fri-Sat, £18, £16 concs. Chaotic poet-comedian Tim Key's festive shindig is practically now a Christmas tradition. He slams down some yuletide poems at these December specials.
Margaret Cho – The Psycho Tour, Leicester Square Theatre, all weekend, £22.50-£28.50. Margaret Cho's a big name across the Pond – partly thanks to her appearance on the US version of 'Strictly…', as well as spots on 'Chelsea Lately' and a role in 'Drop Dead Diva'. Now the acerbic comic is back in London for a short run of shows.
Lewis Schaffer is Free Until Famous, £10, Museum of Comedy, all weekend, £10. Brooklyn-born honorary Brit Lewis Schaffer (he's lived in the UK for years now) might not yet be famous, but he's still decided to start charging for his solo show, 'Free Until Famous'. We like to think of Schaffer as a professional underachiever – his gigs can sometimes be more like a strange group therapy session than a 'show', and they're often exhilarating.
…or check out all the critics’ choice comedy shows.
Skepta © Rene Passet, JME © Jasper Brown
Skepta/JME, O2 Academy Brixton, TONIGHT, £28.50. Christmas time, mistletoe and grime: London rap lynchpins Joseph and Jamie Adenuga – aka Skepta and JME – roll up for a big festive show at Brixton with special guests Novelist, Casisdead, Frisco and Section Boyz. Big.
Grandmaster Flash, Electric Brixton, TONIGHT, £20. Ever since the seminal days of block parties in the Bronx, Grandmaster Flash has been an ambassador for hip hop - whether with the original Furious Five rap crew, pioneering mixing and scratching, or just rocking parties around the world.
The Darkness, Roundhouse, Sun, £27.50. Do you believe in a thing called love? Justin Hawkins still does, even though it’s over a decade now since his glam-rock troupe struck big with their mega-selling debut album ‘Permission to Land’.
…or take a look at all the live music events in London this weekend.
The House Clearance House Party, Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, TONIGHT, £5-£8. It's a festive special tonight, meaning that as well as the usual funk, disco, Motown and soul, the DJs will be giving away some Crimbo tunes too – the good ones, of course.
Bangface Xmash Smack Down, Electrowerkz, TONIGHT, £15. Never let Christmas get in the way of a soul-shrivellingly messy wrestling-themed rave. Hardcore heroes Bangface are at it again, thank Christ, hosting a demonically debauched party full of acid techno, jungle and breakcore.
Night Tales: Tokyo Nights Closing Parties, Red Market, Fri-Sat, £3-£5. The final two nights for the Tokyo-themed pop-up party and cocktail bar in a Shoreditch market space, with top DJs, plus Japanese-inspired food and drink.
Sink The Pink BGWMC: The Last Hurrah, Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, Sat, door tickets only. ‘It is heartbreaking to close the door because we can’t fit you all in anymore!’ This sentence from the Facebook event page for Sink The Pink’s upcoming final night at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club sums it up: sad times, but ultimately for a good reason – namely, Sink The Pink becoming justifiably mega-popular, thus needing to spread its bingo wings and head to larger venues.
Pillow Cinema, Sutton House, all weekend, £27.50 per two-person bean bag, £10 (standard chair seat for one person). Cosy up on a bean bag in a Grade II listed house and watch a selection of great films, with wintry snacks and booze served.
…or see all the parties planned this weekend.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Backyard Cinema at Winterville: 'Lethal Weapon', Victoria Park, Sat, door tickets only. This classic buddy action movie kicks off during the festive season, hence its placing in Winterville’s stuffed-like-a-turkey strand of seasonal flicks.
Pop-Up Screens Cinema in the Snow: 'A Christmas Story', 20th Century Theatre, Sat, £20. This festive tale is beloved in the USA, but less known over here. But surely everyone remembers how they felt at primary school when a literary masterpiece came back marked with a C+? This and other crimes perpetrated by the adult world are exposed in this nostalgic tale of young Ralphie's quest to ensure that his Christmas presents include a much-coveted BB air rifle.
The Badlands Collective: ‘Barry Lyndon, ICA, Sat, £12, £8 concs. Stanley Kubrick’s longtime producer Jan Harlan joins filmmaker Richard Ayoade and cineaste Maria Pramagiorre to introduce this fortieth anniversary 35mm screening of Kubrick’s spectral masterpiece.
Or at the cinema...
Star Wars: The Force Awakens ★★★★★ JJ Abrams's Star Wars reboot is as thrilling and playful as anyone could have hoped – a masterly revival of old themes and faces.
Sherpa ★★★★★ An unforgettable disaster-on-Everest doc told from the perspective of Sherpas.
Sisters ★★★☆☆ Comedy queens Tina Fey and Amy Poehler stars as mismatched sisters in a comedy that squanders their talents.
…or see all of the latest releases.
© Marc Brenner
The Dazzle, FOUND111, Fri-Sat, £10-£35. Andrew Scott dazzles in this slightly hokey play about two eccentric brothers.
Robin Hood, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Fri-Sat, £17-£27.50. The TRSE panto is back to its loopy best under dream team Trish Cooke and Robert Hyman.
Cinderella, Richmond Theatre, all weekend, £11.90-£51.40. Richmond's panto bounces back to top form for 2015 with Hayley Mills and old reliable Matthew Kelly.
…or see our theatre critics’ choices.
© Seana Gavin
This week's best new art
Grand Magasin Deux, French Riviera, all weekend, free. After the success of the first iteration of this selling show back in 2013, Nat Breitenstein’s collaborative project invites artists and makers to present works that tread the fine line between product and art.
Imposed Transitions, Geddes Gallery, all weekend, free. If, like us, you mourned the loss of Italian deli KC Continental in Caledonian Road, you’ll be intrigued to hear that the premises have been put to good use and turned into a pop-up gallery.
Designer Crafts at Christmas 2015, Mall Galleries, all weekend, £5. The Society of Designer Craftsmen has organised this five-day event to showcase its members working in ceramics, glass, jewellery, metal, printmaking, textiles and wood. That’ll be your Christmas presents wrapped up.
…or see all London art reviews.
Best of the blog