From winter supper clubs to indie markets and even elf school, there’s something for all the family
ELF SCHOOL | White Rose Shopping Centre | Weekends in December
Fancy putting your kid to work this festive season? The White Rose’s Elf School will help them master their toy making skills as they are trained by Santa’s elite team, going home at the end of the session with their very own LEGO-like toy. SEN and autism-friendly sessions are also available, and all attendees are encouraged to book ahead (please note a parent must be present at all times).
White Rose Shopping Centre, LS11 8LU (various time slots available; bookable for free at white-rose.co.uk/elfschool)
SANTA’S BREAKFAST | Christkindelmarkt | Weekends in December
Even the big man in red has to eat and, this year, the whole family can share in the magic of mealtimes. Join Santa in the Alp Chalet for a table-by-table meet and greet, with a hot and cold buffet of traditional German pastries, meats and more. Once suitably full, kids can embark on the festive treasure hunt around the market – the perfect way to burn off that sugar energy.
Christkindelmark, Millennium Square, LS2 3AD (various 1-hour timeslots available; tickets from £11.50 at millsqleeds.com/christmasmarket)
CLAY ORNAMENTS CRAFT CLASS | Firefly Pottery | Sunday 1st December
For those who’d prefer to add the handmade touch themselves, this crafty class will guide even the most inexperienced of clay workers through trees, Santas or Christmas characters, all made from easy-to-follow templates. Craft your figures, colour them and send them off for glazing, ready to collect before the big day. Anybody over the age of 12 is welcome to get involved.
Firefly Pottery, LS18 4AH (6.30-10pm; tickets from £30 at fireflypottery.co.uk)
ETSY MADE LOCAL | Leeds City Museum | 29th November - 1st December
Ditch the high street and take your shopping list to Etsy Made Local, an annual roundup of some of Leeds’ best Etsy craftspeople, sellers and makers. From cards and gift-wrap right through to homewares and foodstuffs, you’re guaranteed to find something a little quirky for that hard-to-buy-for person or secret Santa - content in the knowledge that you’re supporting young, independent business.
Leeds City Museum, LS2 8BH (11am-4pm; free entry)
CHRISTMAS QUIZ NIGHT | Las Iguanas | Monday 2nd December
Enjoy an after-work or ‘friendmas’ outing at the Las Iguanas' Christmas quiz, covering music, movies and festive traditions. With a cash jackpot and a bottle of Las Iguanas' trademark Manifica Cachaca at stake, it’s bound to be a good giggle - plus an opportunity to sample all the usual BOGOF cocktail deals. Like what you taste? Las Iguanas will also be running festive bottomless brunch throughout the month.
Las Iguanas, LS1 2HD (7.30-11pm; £1 entry per player, tables reservable at iguanas.co.uk)
WREATH MAKING WORKSHOP | Flavour Like Fancy | Tuesday 3rd December
Hotfoot it to Meanwood and enjoy a night of mince pies, mulled wine and crafts at Flavour Like Fancy’s Xmas wreath workshop. Guided by Lauren and Cat from Bingley floristry business Rustic Garden, you can express yourself through holly, sprigs and picks, ready to pop upon your door or give as a gift. While you’re there, enjoy a good perusal of the store - easily one of Leeds’ finest for alternative giftware and artisan design.
Flavour Like Fancy, LS7 2PA (6.30-9.30pm; tickets from £35 at eventbrite.co.uk)
FEEL GOOD FESTIVE-AL | Leeds Corn Exchange | Thursday 5th December
Amongst all of the glittery lights and abundant commerce of the season, it’s easy to forget about your own wellbeing during the Christmas season. Whether you’re looking to make a big life change or simply take some time to check in with yourself, the CGL Mabgate team will be on hand to provide information about food banks, debt advice and addiction counselling - as well as holistic wellbeing sessions in Indian massage, mindfulness meditation and yoga. All activities are pay-as-you-feel, with all funds going back into the city’s food banks.
Leeds Corn Exchange, LS1 7BR (12-5pm; PAYF)
HINTERLAND CHRISTMAS| Clarence Dock | 5th - 7th, 12th - 14th December
Party in style this season with the return of Hinterland Christmas, a high-concept tipi village complete with ice bar, drag queen DJs, brass bands, photo booth and the ‘snowdrop’ big finale. General entry is available but, for something truly special, guests can opt for reserved table dining or even their very own private tipi - perfect for small work shindigs or family events. With a huge degree of different packages and perks, have a good look through the whole website before booking.
Clarence Road, LS10 1EE (6pm-12am; tickets from £10.50 at hinterland.christmas)
JANE LAWSON LOVES SUPPER CLUB | The Little Bookshop | Saturday 7th December
An esteemed food blogger, caterer and now in-house chef for The Little Bookshop, Jane Lawson knows a thing or two about whipping up a comforting meal. Join her for an intimate four-course supper club, themed around wintery seasonal produce. With limited space available, this would make for the perfect intimate date night this holiday season.
The Little Bookshop, LS7 3PD (7.30-11pm; tickets £42 at tickettailor.com)
THE CREATIVE LIFE WINTER SOCIAL | Castleton Mill | Thursday 12th December
Being a freelancer is all fun and games until you realise that the work Christmas do no longer features. Enter business coach Matt Essam, who will be hosting something akin to a freelancers’ festive party - with access to complimentary food, drink and of course networking. Whether you come alone or with a friend, it’s a great opportunity to scope out the venue, an up-and-coming workspace for creative businesses. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Candelighters, a Yorkshire charity dedicated to fighting children’s cancer.
Castleton Mill, LS12 2DS (5.30pm until late; tickets from £5 at eventbrite.co.uk)
JO MALONE CALLIGRAPHY EVENT | Victoria Gate Leeds | Thursday 12th December
Add some pizazz to those presents at the Jo Malone calligraphy event. Allow their experts to adorn your gifts with beautiful named script while you chat with the expert stylists to discover their range of perfumes, lotions and pampering products - all while enjoying a glass or two of festive fizz. We can’t guarantee that you won’t end up leaving with a present for yourself…
Victoria Gate Leeds, LS2 7AU (2-6pm; free entry)
MESSY CHRISTMAS | Left Bank | Sunday 15th December
Let the kids go wild at Messy Christmas, with a whole host of crafty activities ranging from biscuit decorating to sparkling crowns to keep them occupied while you enjoy a cuppa (and the joy of not having to tidy up your own house). Seasonal storytelling, treasure hunts and lunchboxes are available, but be sure to mention any preferred dietary options while booking. All children aged 3-11 are invited, while adults and siblings under 2 go free.
Left Bank, LS6 1LJ (10am-1pm; tickets from £5 at leftbankleeds.org.uk)
ST GEMMA'S SANTA DASH | Leeds City Centre | Sunday 15th December
Don a big red suit for a good cause and take part in the annual St Gemma’s Santa Dash, a 5k loop run through the city centre that helps raise money for the hospice’s excellent care work. Register for the run as an individual or as a family (outfits provided), or if running isn’t quite your thing, the team are also accepting volunteers for stewarding and on-the-day information.
Leeds City Centre (from 9.30am; participant tickets from £15 at events.st-gemma.co.uk)
HIGH AND LONESOME CHRISTMAS SHOWCASE | Brudenell Social Club | Tuesday 17th December
This laidback evening features some of Leeds’ finest emerging bands and emotional troubadours. With the likes of Ruthie, Cruel World, Crake and Sam Airey, there is every chance of a cover version of some of your favourite Christmas songs, plus the chance to discover some new ones. Mulled wines all round…
Brudenell Social Club, LS6 1NY (7.30-11pm; free entry tickets available at seetickets.com)
FLOW & BREATHE | Yoga Kula | Monday 30th December
So you made it through Christmas…and relax. Take steps to detox and prepare yourself for the New Year with Yoga Kula’s relaxing and healing class, designed to celebrate the winter solstice and the last new moon of the year. Set resolutions to meditate upon within the class, or bring winter objects to build into their altar - a connection to everything we wish to cherish or leave behind in 2019.
Yoga Kula, LS7 4NY (6-7.15pm; tickets from £10.50 at mindbodyonline.com)