We all want to make every Christmas as, well, Christmas-y as it can be. We wish for snow, we want to make our decorations as perfect as possible, and we sip eggnog and mulled wine to absorb as much of the festivities as we can. It’s been like 10 years, you still don’t like it, but it’d be rude not to, right?
It’s not Christmas until you’ve queued at a packed store, traversed through a Christmas market, or made a wonky wreath that you’ll tell everyone a child made so they don’t judge you for it. They don’t know you spent hours Googling ‘how to make a Christmas wreath’ hunched over the dining table, glue in your hair, glitter in your eye – and they never have to.
We’re here to help you sort the wheat from the chaff, so you can plan your perfect festive season without all the faff. ‘Tis the season to talk in rhyme – we hope you have a magical… time? We’ll stop now.
Read on to discover our handpicked selection of fun Christmas activities, so you can avoid mediocre merriment this year.
Discover the perfect Winter Wonderland
Being British, we seem to get the bad end of the deal. It’s freezing but, more often than not, we still don’t get snow – what’s the point? If you’re looking for things to do at Christmas, Winter Wonderlands provide you with the perfect opportunity to pretend that magic does exist. Why not spend a moment as a big kid in awe of all things magical?
Plus, there are plenty of Santa and Wonderland experiences you can enjoy with friends as an adult, so you can even meet the Big Guy himself.
Winter Funland – Manchester
When: 19th December 2021 – 2nd January 2022
Where: Manchester BEC Arena, Manchester
- Ice skating rink
- Circus shows
- Food vendors
The clue’s pretty much in the name with this one. The Winter Funland in Manchester is hosted in the BEC Arena and is easily accessible by bus or Metrolink. The huge venue hosts a funfair and circus events, with a great selection of food vendors. If you fancy making a fool of yourself or showing off your impressive skills, there’s also an ice rink. And, if you want to watching other people make a fool of themselves, they also host Pantomime shows throughout the event’s run in December.
Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland – York
When: 29th November 2021 – 9th January 2022
Where: York Designer Outlet, York
- Ice skating rink
- Vintage funfair
- Santa’s grotto
- The Chalet alpine café
Tickets for Santa’s grotto must be booked separately. Funfair tickets can be purchased on-site.
This Winter Wonderland is known mostly for its huge ice rink – the biggest in the county. It’s hosted near the York Designer Outlet (if you’re tempted by a bit of Christmas shopping alongside your festive fun), so is accessible by bus or car. There’s also a funfair onsite, Santa’s Grotto, and a cosy alpine Chalet bar for when you fancy a break from the cold.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland – London
When: 19th November 2021 – 3rd January 2022
Where: Hyde Park, London
- Funfair and giant wheel
- Santa Land
- Christmas market and Bavarian village
- Ice skating rink
- Magical Ice Kingdom
- Zippos Christmas Circus and Cirque Beserk
- Christmas bars
- Ice sculpting workshops
- Street food village
This is the big one when looking for places to visit at Christmas. We don’t need to tell you how to find Hyde Park smack bang in the middle of London – mainly because you can’t miss this absolutely epic event. It’s towering neon funfair graces the London skyline throughout December, along with its famed Christmas circus. You can also wander through the 200 market stalls and accompanying Bavarian village – not to mention have a spin on the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink.
Wonderland – Telford
When: 27th November – 19th December 2021 and 20th December – 23rd December 2021
Where: Wonderland, Telford
- Winter village
- Meet Santa and Mrs Claus
- Scavenger hunt
- Funfair rides
- Christmas disco
- Lantern walk
- Meet the reindeers
- Ice Mountain with Anna and Elsa
If you fancy something a little more whimsical and a little less neon, this Alice in Wonderland theme park in Telford is the perfect place to go. Their Winter Wonderland is on from late November throughout December, though its woodland location means it’s mostly only accessible by car or bus. Their magical winter village is a sight to see, complete with reindeers and a collection of fairground rides. They also host intimate events, such as their scavenger hunt, lovely lantern walk, and end of season fireworks display.
Please check event websites for most up to date information.
Get Christmas crafty
Why not get creative and make something festive? At Christmas you can make almost anything and get away with calling it a decoration! We may be Barefoot but go ahead and try your hand at one of these fun crafty items!
If you fancy getting your Instagram influencer on and decorating your house like something out of a housekeeping magazine, Christmas wreath making is an excellent festive craft. You can use traditional fir, but some people opt to make wreaths out of haberdashery items, such as spools of thread, steampunk-esque pieces like cogs and gears, or even collected wine and champagne corks.
All you need is either some bendy twine or you can buy a wire wreath ring to save the hassle of festive splinters. We’re not sure if splinters can be festive, but we thought it made it sound less painful. Then just thread, wrap, and glue your chosen ornaments in the configuration you’d like. We’d recommend having a good search for some visual inspiration beforehand though, just so you’re not taking random festive stabs in the dark. Time to open a new Pinterest board and start pinning wreath inspo!
Time to let your Christmas creativity shine. You can buy basic white or glass baubles with removable tops and acrylic paints or paint pens to decorate. Fill with festive firs, flowers, fake snow, or even figurines if you fancy trapping tiny Santa in a glass cage of perpetual winter tundra.
This craft is great if you can’t find the perfect tree decorations. You’d be hard pressed trying to find specific baubles that depict your favourite Christmas film, a treasured family memory, or a dancing turkey dressed as Freddie Mercury. We say that, but the internet is a wonderful place.
Spruce up your wrapping skills
Although we all love the buy-one-get-one-free offer on gaudy wrapping paper, maybe now’s the time to master the real art of gift wrap. The basis of any trendy present is brown paper. From there, source things like dried flowers, pinecones, and sprigs of holly, and use parcel string to tie it together. You can even write out the receiver’s name on the front with your own unique stamp, to make it look like it’s come direct from Mr C himself.
In terms of DIY present decs, a tasteful pom-pom bow can be threaded together in a few minutes. You could even create accordion bows from folded pieces of leftover paper. That last one is a lot less complicated than it sounds – simply fold strips of paper back and forth like you would when you were bored at school, fan it out, and tape together.
Even if you try to make something from an aesthetically pleasing Christmas Pinterest board and it doesn’t look exactly how you would like, it’s the extra effort and creativity that makes it special.
Catch a Christmas show
Christmas combined with theatre makes for an all-round magical experience. November through till January is the height of the festive show season, with pantomimes, childhood classics, and musicals abound across the country. The best thing you can do is become familiar with your local theatres known to put on a good panto or regular shows throughout the festive season.
Make sure you pick your friends wisely, though – if they don’t shout ‘oh yes they are!’ back at the Dame like a kid who’s had too much sugary drink, they’re probably not the one to take with you!
Alhambra Theatre – Bradford
The Alhambra is known for putting on a host of touring musicals throughout the year, especially over the winter months. It’s one of the best all-round theatres outside of London and hosts shows to suit all ages, including Christmas comedy nights, pantomimes, interactive shows, and classic plays.
Nimax Theatres – London
Nimax Theatres consist of a variety of venues across central London. They put on everything from pantomimes, traditional theatre, Christmas shows, and musicals – all being top touring productions from some of the best West End and national directors and playwrights. If you’re not from the capital, and looking for ideas for Christmas days out, seeing one of their shows would make for an excellent trip idea.
This is another national theatre that hosts touring West End and acclaimed shows. You only get the best at the Empire, with internationally renowned musicals, epic Christmas shows from the likes of the Muppets, and classical arrangements.
The iconic Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse is also just around the corner, which tends to put on classic pantomimes, drag performances, cabarets, and interactive shows – if you fancy something a little more lively.
Please check event websites for most up to date information.
Settle in for a cosy Christmas movie night
You don’t have to brave the cold to find fun Christmas activities. Sometimes the perfect accompaniment to a bitter December day is to just stay in with friends and go all-out for a festive film night. Decorate your house to the nines with decorations, create movie tickets, rearrange the furniture, and create a handpicked menu to enjoy while watching.
You can grab some classic snacks like popcorn or make it a little more festive with mulled wine, mince pies, and Christmas dinner finger foods for guests to enjoy. Plus, what’s a movie night without the accompanying drinks? Pop a celebratory bottle of Barefoot bubbly to share if you’re going for a vintage glamour drive-in feel, or bring out our pink wine if you’re cosying up with a Rom-Com. For that extra festive feel and to fill your house with beautiful scents, why not whip up a batch of mulled wine made with Barefoot Malbec. Whatever the theme, we’ve got a bottle to cover all bases.
So, from exploring Christmas Wonderlands, crafting DIY decs and shouting at panto Dames – why not get started planning your perfect festive season?