5 – 9 December
The 34th Pigs Ear Beer & Cider Festival
Round Chapel, 1D Glenarm Road, E5 0LY
This annual CAMRA-backed drink-up sees the circumference of Lower Clapton listed building, the Round Chapel, crammed full of kegs from around the UK, with other tipples and snacks for those averse to the copious beer and cider. Enjoy a seasonal Saison or a hoppy holiday IPA, and join the ranks of punters sleeping it off in the upper section of pews.
6 + 13 + 20 December
Columbia Road Christmas Shopping Evenings
Columbia Road, E2 7RG
The Columbia Road area is home to over 60 independent shops, all of which will be keeping their doors open a little later (5 – 9pm) on these particular cold Wednesday evenings. Carol singers – backed by a piano wheeled down from local St Peter’s church – will add to the cheer running through this Victorian thoroughfare. You’ll be able to pick up a Christmas tree too, alongside the fancy, artisanal goods the road is known for.
Xmas Jam On The Butty
The Village Butty, moored by the Milk Float, Sweetwater Moorings, River Lea, E9 5EN
There’s always someone at the Christmas party who wants to whip out the acoustic guitar, but The Village Butty – the floating community hall / boat combo – have formalised this noble custom. This kid-friendly, open-to-all jam session will be helped on by mulled wine and a licensed bar.
Cafe Oto Christmas Fair
Cafe Oto, 18-22 Ashwin St, E8 3DL
Need a gift for any hip, chin-stroking relatives; the obscure electronica or prog loving black sheep of their respective families? If you’re not getting them soap ‘n’ smellies to have a good wash, then records, CDs, prints, magazines, books, DVDs and more will be on offer at the off-beat Dalston music centre/cafe on the 10th. There’s a real variety of stallholders, from indie behemoths like Upset The Rhythm to the more questing sounds of, for example, Where To Now? Records’ roster – with space for print institutions like The Wire magazine and Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) & Eva Prinz’s Ecstatic Peace! Library imprint of poetry and esoteric music books. Cafe Oto will also hold a ‘Krautrock Karaoke Christmas Party’ on 16 December.
10 + 17 December
Chatsworth Road Christmas Markets
Chatsworth Road, E5 0LH
These Christmas editions of the beloved market promise music and theatre alongside the usual food, fashion and fun.
Christmas: If consumerism is the answer, what is the question?
42 ACRES Shoreditch, 66 Leonard Street, EC2A 4LW
A more thoughtful take on the season. Perspectiva have organised this panel discussion, aiming to question consumerism at this most apposite of times – with the mince pies appropriately free of charge.
12 – 20 December
Dalston CLR James Library, Dalston Square, Dalston Ln, E8 3BQ
Cheers flew around the fully-booked Arcola recently as stage charity Immediate Theatre, together with the Arcola Over 50s Group, put on the inaugural performance of their Christmas cabaret, full of music, jokes, memories and knock-about fun. That show is now touring, but the group also made a film, with filmmaker Bhavesh Hindocha, as part of the project. This film will be installed in Dalston’s main library in mid-December, and all are welcome to share the festive buzz generated by the group (made up of nine older residents of our borough.)
The Festive Get-Together
Gillett Square, Dalston, N16 8JN
Hackney Co-operative Developments CIC are making the most of an unbelievably tough time for the borough’s homeless and disadvantaged. At this get-together, they’ll provide food, a care package and vital information to these communities, with food and beauty treatments being sold on the day to finance their gifts. Pop down and give a little. For further information, you can contact Sara Owusu (Sara.firstname.lastname@example.org) or Anja Beinroth (email@example.com).
Crafty Fox Christmas Market
Geffrye Museum, 136 Kingsland Rd, E2 8EA
Street food, mulled wine, and, above all, over 50 traders (selling classy trinkets and lovingly crafted goods of all kinds) are at the heart of this highlight of a busy Christmas at the Geffrye Museum (which is, of course, rapidly approaching a hiatus in the New Year.) 4 – 9pm, Free entry.
15 – 16 December
The London Children’s Book Fair
Parasol unit, 14 Wharf Rd, N1 7RW
Fast becoming an institution, the gallery’s kids book fair this year focuses on storytelling. Admission is free, as are the workshops, readings and the augmented reality treasure hunt that will crop up across the Friday and Saturday.
St Joseph’s Hospice Winter Knees Up
St Joseph’s Hospice, Mare St, E8 4SA
Given the entry fee of only one measly quid; the games, food, drink and good tidings on show; the fact that you can meet and greet SANTA HIMSELF as well as his furry friends at this Mare Street party… Why wouldn’t you go down and show your support for the Hospice this winter? Starts at midday, ends 5pm.
Shacklewell Arts Fair (Xmas edition)
Shacklewell Arms, 71 Shacklewell Lane, E8 2EB
The Dalston pub and live venue is a perfect place to snap up some arty bargains and support local independent artists, illustrators and makers over a pint. 1pm onwards.
Narnia Christmas Market
London Fields Primary School, Westgate Street, E8 3RU
Many schools have Christmas fêtes, but only London Fields Primary is promising a wardrobe to a mystical world. Arts and crafts, drama workshops, music and face painting stalls will all be on hand once you’re through to Narnia. 10am – 2pm.
Hackney Playbus: Christmas session
Springfield Park, E5 9EF
Having raised £25k for a replacement bus this year, the popular Playbus rocks up to Springfield Park for a Christmas 10am-noon session. Live music, Christmas crafts and more will delight the, no doubt, already buzzing children of Hackney.
20 – 23 December
Clissold Park Christmas Market
Clissold Park, N16 9HJ
Last minute shopping to do? It’s no bother at this wintery Stoke Newington festival of food, beverages, rides and stalls. 12 – 6pm (except Saturday 23rd, when it runs from 9am – 6pm).