Yes "It's CHRISTMASSSS".. and only 5 more sleeps till Santa. All very exciting. If you have time between the parties, shopping, wrapping and general festivities, then there are a few nuggets to enjoy with the family...
All weekend- and beyond...Christmas Theatre...
Some wonderful Christmas shows on this season- here's our pick:
The Arts Depot is showing The Tiger Who Came to Tea, the classic Judith Kerr story. It runs until 5 January 2014. Meet Sophie, her mummy and daddy, and the tea-guzzling tiger in this delightful family show, packed with oodles of magic, sing-a-long songs and clumsy chaos! Judith Kerr's award-winning picture book has been brought to life on stage by David Wood OBE - the writer behind the hit stage versions of The BFG, Babe the Sheep Pig and Fantastic Mr Fox. We are VERY excited to be going on Boxing Day (well I am anyway.
Jacksons lane is showing The Hare and the Tortoise until 3 January 2014. Following the huge success of last year’s The Elves and the Shoemaker, the hare-brained Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company return to Jacksons Lane with an up-to-date, brand new take on this world famous fable. For children 2+.
The wonderful Little Angel Theatre is showing The Night Before Christmas running until 5 January, for children 3+. Inspired by the poem by Clement Clarke Moore, The Night Before Christmas is a musical puppet fantasy which tells the story of a wish that came true with near disastrous consequences. The Little Angel Theatre is also showing Dogs Don't Do Ballet until 2 January. We saw this last year and absolutely loved it- the staging creatively brings to life the story of the little dog with big ballerina dreams! For children aged 2-6 years.
The Chickenshed Theatre in Southgate also presents the story of The Night Before Christmas, in the unique style of this theatre company. The Night Before Christmas is fondly remembered as one of Chickenshed’s best shows ever – once again bringing Christmas alive in a completely fresh and festive way. Prepare to be mesmerised by the wonderful story, beautiful music and songs, amazing dance and a feast of memorable characters specially created for this uniquely Chickenshed show. For children 5+.
We love the sound of Wallace and Gromit's music marvels appearing at the Barbican on 22 and 23 December. In this new Wallace and Gromit adventure with live orchestra, everyone's favourite hapless inventor and his faithful dog turn their hands (and paws) to the music business. Musical Marvels features new animation of the dynamic duo's backstage moments, against a backdrop of classical favourites by Mozart, Debussy, and Stravinsky. In part 2 of the show, sit back and enjoy the multi award-winning A Matter of Loaf and Death on the big screen with Julian Nott's original orchestral score performed live by Aurora Orchestra. For children 5+.
Slava's Snowshow is on at the Royal Festival Hall until 6 January 2014. The multi award winning international sensation, Slava’s Snowshow has delighted and thrilled audiences in over 80 cities around the globe including New York,Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow. Experience a joyous dream-like world which will touch both your heart and funny bone, culminating in a breathtaking blizzard leaving you literally knee deep in snow! For children 8+.
The Lion and Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town is showing The Jungle Book until 30 December.
And of course where would we be without Peppa Pig? Our favourite little Pig returns for a festive run in Peppa Pig's Big Splash at the Criterion until 5 July 2014. Join Peppa and her friends for another all-singing, all-dancing adventure full of songs, games and muddy puddles!
And finally- if you fancy venturing further afield, Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas is on at the Lyric Theatre, Hamersmith. The first ever staged production of the classic illustrated Christmas children's book, about the lovely fat Father Christmas and his annual routine to get presents to the world, returns to the Lyric after a successful run last year until 4 January 2014. For children aged 0-6 years.
Saturday 21 December
The Gruffalo and the Gruffalo's Child are on stage at the Barbican this Saturday. With Performances at 1.30 and 4pm. In a perfect festive treat for younger children, venture into the deep dark wood with the acclaimed animated films based on the books The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child. Watch the cunning and resourceful little mouse outsmart the hungry Gruffalos as this enchanting double bill is shown on the big screen with live orchestral accompaniment from the Royal Northern Sinfonia.
The Comedy Club 4 Kids returns to the Soho Theatre this Saturday at 12.30. In the words of Timeout: "Top quality comedy for children, their parents and anybody who likes humour without the rude words." For children 6+.
The RAF Museum is running a Christmas Make and Take on both Saturday and Sunday. Join the team and make your very own Santa's Sleigh with adorable Rudolph or Christmas Coaster in the shape of a seasonal holly wreath in our festive Christmas Maze. Times: 10:00 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 15:00.
Sunday 22 December
There's more comedy this weekend as The Comedy Club for Kids presents the Santa Claus Experiment at the Bloomsbury Theatre. Father Christmas has stopped believing in himself. Can his elves, some scientists and comedians change his mind?! This promises to be a show that puts the Science back into Christmas (so it says "Chrisciencemas" and no longer makes sense) for 6-99 yrs who like science, comedy or Christmas. Which is pretty much everyone!
The British Museum has an ice age animation workshop running 11-1 and 2.00 to 4.00pm. Children 7+ can use stop-motion software and digital cameras to bring Ice Age animals to life through animation.
And if you are looking to entertain the kids during the holidays- here are a few highlights of what's on:
If you fancy braving the ice, there are a number of ice rinks open in London. The spectacular Somerset House Ice Rink is open until 5 January. The Sunday Times bills this "the coolest rink of all." ind your feet on the ice with Skate School and give children their first glide on the ice with Penguin Club. Or simply soak up the atmosphere in our rink-side bar. Sponsored by Coach, The iconic Coach Horse and Carriage stands at the base of the first Coach Christmas tree while on Sundays in the lead up to Christmas, Coach will give skaters a delightful complementary American brunch treat.
For more open air skating, there's also the large rink at the Natural History Museum. Special packages are on offer for Christmas and New Years Eve, and live music on Thursday. Penguin Skate aids on a first come first served basis. There's also Eyeskate at the London Eye- skate in the shadow of one of London’s most breathtaking and iconic landmarks, situated on the fabulously festive South Bank.
If you prefer skating indoors, Westfield London has an ice rink with a range of activities including family sessions 12-2pm daily. The Spires in Barnet also has an icerink open 21- 22 December.
The Museum of Docklands has a whole host of Christmassy activities on across the holidays. Checkout the website for details. The Science Museum has a large range of events, including 3D film screenings (children 8+) , and a Science of Christmas, Festive Physics show. The Imperial War Museum has a Horrible Histories event: Spies. Visit this major new interactive exhibition for families and put your undercover skills to the test to see if you’ve got what it takes to survive as a spy.The museum is also hosting a series of activities at its 'A Family in Wartime' exhibition over the Christmas holidays. Children will learn about the London skyline during the Blitz while making gifts and decorations.
And the rest..
Meet Santa at London Zoo! Exclusively for Meet Santa ticket-holders is the chance to see the Zoo’s most festive animals – the reindeers! Check out Santa’s herd of helpers, and find out lots of fun facts about the antlered-animals at the daily talk. Also included in the Meet Santa experience, kids will be able to lend a hand at the daily Keeper’s Little Helpers sessions, where they’ll be preparing treats and presents for the Zoo’s animals before settling down for storytelling with Mother Christmas. For children who like to get hands on, there are Christmas craft activities to enjoy around the Zoo, with gingerbread decorating, adding their festive wishes to the Wishing Tree and joining in the Zoo’s colouring competition.
Kew Gardens has an illuminated trail which you can follow in the evening, until 4 January. This is a unique opportunity to explore the one-mile-long illuminated trail as it winds its way through the Gardens, casting light into hidden places off the beaten track, under tree-top canopies and onto dancing lakeside ripples.
The Kids Kitchen is running Christmas holiday classes from 19 December to 3 January, in Whetstone, N20. For children 5+.
Have a wonderful Christmas, and wishing our readers a happy and healthy new year. See you next year!
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