With the countdown underway, here are fifteen festive events yule be silly to miss…
Everyone has been to the Christkindelmarkt in Leeds, and while that's all very nice thank you, but there's plenty else to be getting stuck into this December - from Beer & Carols to a Great Muslim Panto...
PLAYING BY EYE BY MODES OF EXPRESSION | Leeds Arts University | 16 November – 21 December
Get all the festive wrapping inspiration you need courtesy of Modes of Expression. Known for their colourful murals about the city, Playing by Eye sees them move into mixed media as a way to bring joy to the dull evenings of winter through lively colour palettes and abstract patterns.
Leeds Arts University, LS2 9AQ (free entry)
ISSHO YUKI WINTER TERRACE | Issho Victoria Gate | 29 November – 28 February
Celebrate the colder season with Issho’s new winter menu, featuring six new seasonal cocktails and a weekend afternoon tea featuring such delights as miso braised lamb shoulder, yuzu meringue kisses and mocha ice cream. We’ll be heading down for a warming glass of onsen – a blend of sake and honey, infused with ginger, sansho pepper and green tea.
Issho Restaurant & Bar, Victoria Gate 3rd Floor Rooftop, LS2 7AU (cocktails from £10, afternoon tea from £25 per person)
THE HEPWORTH CHRISTMAS MARKET | The Hepworth Wakefield | 30 November -2 December
Take a trip over to stunning brutalist building that is the Hepworth Art Gallery for their yearly festive market. With over 80 stallholders, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to stock up on unique gifts, as well as street food, craft workshops and storytelling for kids.
The Hepworth Wakefield, WF1 5AW (10am-5pm; entry £1, free for members & under 16s)
THE LEEDS COMMUNITY CLOTHES EXCHANGE 10TH ANNIVERSARY | Carriageworks Theatre | 1 December
Looking for an eco-friendly alternative to the consumerism of the season? Now in its tenth year, Leeds Community Clothes Exchange hosts a monthly swapshop that allows you to trade old belongings for something new-to-you. To celebrate, they’re putting on a special screening of sustainable fashion documentary The True Cost, as well as various speakers on the tops of eco fashion and ethical shopping. An eye opener indeed.
Carriageworks Theatre, LS2 3AD, (6-9pm; free registration needed at eventbrite.com)
VEGAN CHRISTMAS | Knaves Kitchen | 1 - 23 December
Forget your bland nut roasts - Knaves Kitchen are here to provide for all vegans this festive season. Tucked inside Oporto, their kitchen will be slinging the likes of ‘Jack Frost’ (Peruvian Jackfish Ceviche, Corn Croquettes), ‘Mush-room at the Inn’ (Yorkshire seitan and mushroom Wellington) and Christmas pudding truffles with orange brandy custard. Who needs turkey anyway?
Knaves Kitchen, Oporto, Call Lane, LS1 7BT (two courses £14.95, 3 Courses £19.50)
KIRKLATE XMAS MARKET | Kirkgate Market | Thursday 6 December
Get into the festive spirit with KirkLATE’s Xmas market. Scope out local stalls to place your orders for festive produce, enjoy live music from Loud Noises Brass and snag a photo with their resident Mr Claus, Rasta Santa.
Kirkgate Market, LS2 7HY (5.30-10pm; free entry)
THE GREAT MUSLIM PANTOMIME | Left Bank Leeds | Friday 7 December
If you’ve sat through more bad pantos than you’ve had Christmas dinners, allow yourself to be entertained by theatre company Once Upon A Family. Featuring stars from BBC, follow the real-life family of seven as they attempt to present ‘the UK’s first ever halal’ pantomime. The show is in aid of Penny Appeal’s Winter Emergency, with profits helping to provide life-saving winter aid to the vulnerable and homeless this Christmas.
Left Bank Leeds, LS6 1LJ (6.30pm; tickets from £10 at pennyappeal.org)
VICTORIA LEEDS FESTIVE LODGE & GROTTO | Victoria Gate | 7-9 December, 15-23 December
Leeds’ prettiest shopping centre has already been transformed into a winter wonderland, but they’re about to go one step further with the festive lodge and grotto, featuring an appearance from the big man himself. If you’re a little too old for the nice list, they’ll also be an array of festive drinks and entertainment for all to enjoy.
Victoria Gate, LS2 7AU (free entry; Santa visit slots bookable at victorialeeds.co.uk)
BELGRAVE FESTIVE FEAST & ART MARKET | Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen | Saturday 8 December
For a much needed-break from Christmas shopping, drop into Belgrave’s festive feast for seafood snacks, kids soft play and a curated arts fair. As always, there’ll be the usual offers from Patty Smith’s and Dough Boys, as well as dough babies – a free pizza making morning class for little tykes.
Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen, LS2 8JP (11am-6pm; free entry)
MARIAH CAREY | First Direct Arena | Monday 10 December
The undisputed queen of Christmas, bonafide pop legend Mariah Carey will be visiting Leeds on the European leg of her ‘All I Want For Christmas’ tour. Expect any number of Christmas bangers in her trademark five-octave range, as well as choice hits from her impressive back catalogue.
First Direct Arena, LS2 8BY (7.30pm; tickets from £50 at ticketmaster.co.uk)
DRINK & DO – LINO PRINT PATTERN BAUBLES | The Bowery | Friday 14 December
Get creative over a glass of wine at The Bowery’s monthly craft class. For December, you’ll be lead through lino printing, making your own designs that can be applied to baubles or handmade Christmas cards. All abilities and welcome, and all materials are provided.
The Bowery, 54 Otley Road, LS6 2AL (6-8pm; £15, tickets available by calling 0113 2242284)
THE SNOWMAN & THE NUTCRACKER | Leeds Town Hall | Sunday 16 December
Get cosy at Leeds Town Hall for a magical take on two Christmas classics. Performed by the Orchestra of Opera North, the suit of Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker will be brought to life, before a full screening of The Snowman animation with orchestral accompaniment. The perfect moment of calm in a busy season.
Victoria Hall, Leeds Town Hall (4pm; tickets from £16.96 at leedsconcertseason.co.uk)
BEER AND CAROLS | Left Bank Leeds | Friday 21 December
Has there ever been a better pairing? Warm up your vocal chords for a jolly run through some classic carols, accompanied by a live brand and the official Left Bank Choir. A pie and pint are included in the ticket price, and all money raised will support the development of Left Bank Leeds Charitable Trust.
Left Bank Leeds, LS6 1LJ (6-10pm; tickets £8.80 at eventbrite.co.uk)
CHRISTMAS EVE | Piece Hall | Monday 24 December
Wrap up warm and countdown to the big day at Halifax’s Piece Hall. Gather round the colossal tree for carols from Halifax Minster Choir as they make their way to the Christingle service, or spend time with loved ones inside the Spiegeltent, decked out in Nordic velvets and furs for true wintery spirit.
Piece Hall, Halifax, HX1 1RE (carol service 12pm, Spiegeltent open from 4pm; free entry)
NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY | Brudenell Social Club | Monday 31 December
With all manner of expensive club nights on offer, get yourself out of the city centre for Brudenell Social Club’s annual New Year Knees Up. Details for this year are still TBC, but with past years including an array of cover bands and quizzes (plus the Brude’s customary cheap bar prices), it’s sure to be a hot ticket.
Brudenell Social Club, LS6 1NY (7pm-1am; tickets £8.80 at seetickets.com)