If they don't know its Christmas time at all, then they're definitely about to

We know you've seen those pesky log cabins popping up on King Street, and you're already prepping your liver for enough post-work mulled wine to sink a sleigh. There's pigs in blankets in Sainsbury's, and HOME is probably dusting off some majestic multicoloured Christmas decs as we speak. It's the most wonderful time of the year. 

However, deciding whether to skate around to Wham!, inhale a festive chicken parmo, or go and see The Nutcracker at The Opera House is always a bit mind-blowing, so we've made one hell of a festive things to do round-up that you can refer to from now until the big day. Think handmade crafts, rollerskating and onion bhaji baubles. 

We've separated all things merry and bright into handy categories, and will keep the list updated as and when events are announced, so bookmark this Christmas bonanza and get the family calendar out. Step into Christmas, we dare you.

Read on for a mega list of the best things to do and see in and around Manchester for Christmas 2022.

Escape To Freight Island Winter Island Markets 2022 Things To Do In December
Lapland, sorry Ardwick, is ready to turn into an absolute festive wonderland Image: Escape to Freight Island

Markets, markets and more markets

It wouldn't be Xmas in Manchester without a vast array of wooden huts taking over every street, avenue and alleyway, so here's a list of spots to get your fix of bratwurst, gluhwein and good old-fashioned tat. 

Hatch's Festive Village | Hatch, Oxford Road | Wednesday 9 November - Friday 23 December

Merry Kampus Ancoats Pop-Up | Kampus Bungalow | Thursday 10 November - Friday 11 November 

Manchester Christmas Markets | Various city centre locations | Thursday 10 November - Tuesday 22 December 

Winter Gardens | Piccadilly Gardens | Thursday 10 November - Tuesday 22 December

Escape to Winter Island | Escape to Freight Island | Saturday 12 November - Saturday 24 December

GOOD Market | Stanley Square, Sale | Saturday 12 November & Saturday 10 December

Festive Winter Fair | Victoria Baths | Saturday 12 November - Sunday 13 November

Shiny Happy Craft Fair | Mano A Bocca | Tuesday 15 November

Stockport Fairtrade and Eco Christmas Fair | The Guildhall, Stockport | Saturday 19 November

Cotton On MCR, Art All Dayer: Winter Edition | 100 Barbirolli Square | Saturday 19 November

Indoor Alternative Christmas Fair | Yang Sing, Princes St | Every weekend from Saturday 19 November - Sunday 18 December

Sustainable indie Christmas market| GRUB | Sunday 4 December

Open Christmas | Open Kitchen, The People's History Museum | Thursday 6 December

Artisan Markets | The Stoller Hall | Friday 11 December 

The Horse & Jockey Christmas Market| The Horse and Jockey, Chorlton Green | Saturday 10 December

Winter Garden Market | Platt Fields Market Garden | Saturday 17 December - Sunday 18 December

The Ivy Spinningfields Manchester Christmas Set Menu And Cocktails Specials 2022
Because all prawn cocktails should come with golden monkey decorations Image: The Ivy, Spinningfields

Foodie Festivities

Because it wouldn't be a Confidentials round-up without glittery cocktails and onion-based tree decorations, here's some of the foodie specials on offer throughout advent. 

All I want for Christmas burger, beetroot and onion bhaji baubles and more festive specials | Society | available now  

Winter Village | Ramona and The Firehouse | throughout November and December

The Great Snow dining experience and Aurora cocktail special | Tattu, Spinningfields | from Saturday 5 November

Christmas afternoon tea | King Street Townhouse | Wednesday 9 November onwards

Mince pie empanadas and mistletoe martinis | Revolución De Cuba | available now

Festive cocktails and afternoon tea | The Midland Hotel | available now 

Wintermarchen, Festive Set Menu | Albert's Schloss | Monday 14 November - Saturday 24 December

Manchester Rocks cocktails and set menu | The Ivy, Spinningfields | Wednesday 16 November onwards

Santa's breakfast / afternoon tea | Dobbies Garden Centre, Altrincham | from 26 November onwards

Turkey and Stuffing Shawarma | One Star Doner Bar, Escape to Freight Island | coming soon

Ultimate Christmas sndwch | Sndwch, MediaCity | available now

Introduction to whisky| The Black Friar | Tuesday 13 December

'Bring Me Christmas' banquet dining experience | Peru Perdu | From Wednesday 21 December

Contact Theatre Robin Hood Pantomime Things To Do For Christmas In Manchster 2022
Robin Hood and Little John walking to the Contact Image: Contact Theatre

Panto Clause

Get ready to heckle "oh no you didn't", prep your peepers for some men in tights, and if you're looking for a panto with an eighties twist, Greater Manchester has got it all, with bells on. You might think it's behind you, but there's also an adult only pantomime at The Peer Hat, so you've got no choice but to embrace the cheesy Christmas cheer. 

Robin Hood | Oldham Coliseum | Saturday 12 November - Saturday 7 January 

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty | The Lowry | Tuesday 22 November - Saturday 26 November

Once Upon a Pantomime: The Christmas Mansion | Tatton Park, Knutsford | Tuesday 22 November - Sunday 1 January 2023

Rapunzel | Hyde Little Theatre | Monday 28 November - Saturday 3 December

Dick Whittington| Guide Bridge Theatre | Wednesday 30 November - Sunday 11 December

Jack and the Beanstalk | Salford Arts Theatre | Friday 2 December - Saturday 31 December

The totally improvised ADULT pantomime | The Peer Hat | Tuesday 6 December

Cinderella | Stockport Plaza | Thursday 8 December - Sunday 8 January

Eight-Freestyle presents Robin Hood: The 80s Panto | Contact | Saturday 10 December - Saturday 31 December

The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan | Manchester Opera House | Saturday 10 December - Saturday 31 December

Copy Of Backyard Cinema Winterville Mayfield Depot 2022
That's right, there's a magical light up Christmas tree tunnel on the roof of Mayfield Depot Image: Backyard Cinema

A trip to Tinseltown

Because festive entertainment doesn't always have to feature Widow Twankey and slapstick cream pie gags, here's some film screenings, musicals and drag queen bonanzas to fill the 12 days of Christmas (and the days before and after that).  

Backyard Cinema Christmas films | Depot Mayfield, Manchester | various dates throughout November and December

Christmas with Aled Jones and Russell Watson | Manchester Opera House | Sunday 13 November

The Man Who Wanted to be a Penguin | Waterside Arts, Sale | Wednesday 30 November - Saturday 31 December

Miz Cracker in Who's Holiday| HOME | Wednesday 30 November - Saturday 3 December

Pop up small cinema: White Christmas| George Street Chapel, Manchester | Wednesday 7 December

Royal Ballet - The Nutcracker| The Vue Cinema, Altrincham | Thursday 8 December

Classic Christmas film screenings | The Screening Room, King Street Townhouse | Saturday 10 December onwards

Love Actually with a live orchestra | The Bridgewater Hall | Wednesday 14 December

Claus the Musical | The Lowry, Salford | Wednesday 14 December - Sunday 8 January 2023

Lady Wildflowers Christmas burlesque spectacular | GRUB | Thursday 22 December

Paradise Skate World Christmas Special Things To Do In And Arond Manchester December 2022
Skate into Christmas, lets come together, we can watch our friends fall forever and ever Image: Paradise Skate World

Christmas on ice (or wheels)

If you want to treat your loved ones to white knuckles and bruised knees for Christmas, take them to one of these. All jokes aside, nothing gets you in the Christmas mood like pretending to be at Rockerfeller Center when you're actually at a rollerskating rink in The Great Northern, promise. 

Skate Manchester | Cathedral Gardens | Friday 21 October - Monday 2 January 2023

Cosmic Christmas | Paradise Skate World | Wednesday 9 November - Saturday 31 December

SKATE at Tinseltown | The Trafford Centre | Friday 18 November - Monday 2 January

Snowstorm 2: Ice Kingdom Ice Show | Outside The Great Hall, The Trafford Centre | Friday 25 November - Monday 2 January

Wilmslow Wonderland Ice Rink | Bank Square, Wilmslow | Friday 9 December - Sunday 11 December

Manchester Cathedral The Nave And The New Organs
The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear Image: Manchester Cathedral

Carols, choirs, pop sensations

If you work in retail, you'll probably never ever want to listen to a well-curated selection of Christmas carols ever again. However, if you don't, and you fancy filling your evenings with candlelit orchestra concerts and a Winter Beyoncé ball, book some tickets sharpish. 

Christmas at the Movies by Candlelight | Manchester Cathedral | Wednesday 23 November

The Definitive Rat Pack Christmas Show | The Bridgewater Hall | Saturday 26 November

Christmas Cabaret: Woodhead’s Wonderland | Sonata Piano & Cabaret Lounge | Friday 2 December & Saturday 3 December

Greater Manchester Chamber Carol Concert 2022 | Manchester Cathedral | Wednesday 7 December

Northern Chamber Orchestra Christmas Concert | Tenants’ Hall, Tatton Park | Friday 9 December 

Chetham's Festive Favourites| The Stoller Hall | Friday 9 December 

The Winter Renaissance Ball: Hits from Beyoncé's 25 year catalogue | Academy 1, Manchester | Friday 9 December

Manchester Camerata and AMC Gospel Choir: Festive Happening | Albert Hall | Saturday 11 December

Kantos Chamber Choice: Away in a Manger | The Stoller Hall | Sunday 18 December

Candlelight Christmas: Love Actually, Home Alone & more soundtracks | The Stoller Hall | Wednesday 21 December 

Illuminated Flowers At Lightopia Manchester 2021
Twinkly festive light trails galore Image: Confidentials

General Festive Fun

We've got ice rinks, mince pie empanadas and a Trafford-based Tinseltown, but there's some other stuff that's great for the kids, the gram and your serotonin levels throughout November and December. As we said, we'll slot new things in as and when tickets become available, so keep your Christmas radar on high alert. 

Bar Hütte Karaoke & Cocktails | Great Northern Square | Wednesday 9 November - Saturday 31 December

Festive Sundays street performances | Manchester city centre | Every Sunday from 13 November - Sunday 18 December

Christmas with Paddington| The Trafford Centre | Wednesday 16 November - Saturday 24 December

Light Night Trail | Trencherfield Mill, Wigan Pier | Friday 18 November - Saturday 19 November

Wreath making workshop| The Black Friar | Tuesday 22 November

Lightopia Festival | Heaton Park | Thursday 24 November - Monday 2 January

Christmas at TP Street| Trafford Palazzo | Saturday 26 November - Saturday 24 December

Sustainable wreath making workshop | Cloudwater Brewery Taproom| Sunday 27 November 

Christmas Bricktacular at Legoland | Trafford Palazzo | Saturday 3 December

Christmas disco bingo| GRUB | Saturday 10 December

RNCM Christmas Family Day: The Gruffalo| Royal Northern College of Music | Sunday 18 December

Family Friday - festive special| GRUB | Friday 23 December

Header image: Geograph.org.uk

Read next: Shakespeare North Playhouse, Prescot: a 2022 must-visit

Read again: Massive Vegan Christmas festival coming to Manchester

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