It might only be November, but Santa sessions are booking up, Christmas markets will soon be bustling and festive lights are starting to twinkle through the darkness.
There are so many fun and festive events throughout Calderdale that it can be hard to sift through and find the best ones for your family.
So, we’ve narrowed them down and compiled lists to help you choose the best Christmas experiences for your schedule and budget.
Halifax Christmas Lights Switch On
Elsa, Kristoff and Anna will be working the crowds, while stilt walkers, elves, live music and much more keep the whole family entertained throughout the day on Saturday, November 23, 2019. You can pop along to The Piece Hall to make a festive lantern (£3) and there may be a few edible giveaways, thanks to Quality Street.
There will also be a giant Igloo at Woolshops, offering hot chocolate, flavoured snow cones and free kids’ crafts between 11am-3pm.
Throughout the festive season, you’ll be able to get your Christmas shopping wrapped for FREE by elves in their workshop at 1 Old Market, (starting Saturday 23 November, from 10am-3pm), as well as post your letters to Santa through a special post box and receive a written reply!
While Halifax is switching on its Quality Street themed lights, Brighouse will be welcoming Father Christmas in his horse-drawn sleigh! The annual Christmas market kicks off at 10am on Saturday, November 23, promising fun for all the family, delicious food, over 70 stalls and live music. Santa will flick the switch at around 4pm, in Brighouse town centre.
There are loads of other Christmas markets and fairs taking place this year, including those in The Piece Hall, an RSPCA Christmas Market where you can meet the animals, Mytholmroyd, Ripponden, Shibden and Bankfield Museum. To find out more, have a look at our list of Christmas markets and fairs.
November 23-24, 2019. Brighouse Town Centre.
From a grotto at Ogden Water and the woods at Oakwell Hall to the Jungle Experience at Manor Heath, Westgate Arcade, Victoria Theatre, steam trains, garden centres and underground in a cave and a mine, Santa has all his bases covered this year. Take a peek at our list of grottos to find your favourite.
Look out for Santa’s sleigh!
The man in red will be riding his sleigh through certain areas of Halifax (thanks to Halifax Round Table) and if you’re lucky enough to live in one, you could catch a glimpse!
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
6-8.30pm: Coronation Road area, HX3 0
7.15-8.30pm: Well Head (Heath Lea), HX1 2
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
6-7.15pm: Skircoat Green area, HX3 0
7.15-8.30pm: Copley area
Thursday, December 12, 2019
6-7.15pm: Green Park area, HX3 0
7.15-8.30pm: Area still to be decided.
Pick your own Christmas Tree
For a special twist on your usual tree shopping trip, pack some hot chocolate and pick your own tree from the plantation! Here are some places in Calderdale to try. Pre-cut real Christmas trees are also available in places such as Hardcastle Crags and Kershaws.
Or, go to a Christmas Tree Festival!
The inside of Halifax Minster will be twinkling with trees during its annual Christmas tree festival, with beautifully decorated real Christmas trees sponsored by local businesses. My kids loved looking at them all last year, followed by a few buns afterwards.
£2 entry for adults and children FREE.
November 29-December 2, 2019. 10am-5pm (12pm-5pm on the Sunday).
Get into the Great Outdoors!
At Hardcastle Crags you can cook on a Christmas Campfire, while at Forgotten Forest in Brighouse, you can join Stickman on his Christmas adventure to get home to his family. Stickman sessions include adventuring around the woods, making your own Stickman to take home, playing in the mud kitchen, climbing trees, meeting Father Christmas and enjoying chocolate and marshmallows around the campfire! We have done one of these Stickman sessions and absolutely loved it, even my teenage niece was entertained! Book here!
Attend a Christingle!
For a few years, we just made the Christingle oranges at home but last year we went to one of the three Christingle services at Halifax Minster on Christmas Eve and it was lovely. All the candlelight, seeing the real donkey, the nativity and singing Christmas carols were magical for my kids – not to mention being able to eat the sweets on their oranges was a treat in itself!
All kids are invited to dress up and take part in the nativity – no rehearsal needed – and each child will receive a Christingle.
Services are held on Christmas Eve at 1.45pm, 3pm & 4pm.
You can also hear the Minster Choir singing carols around the Christmas tree at The Piece Hall at 12.30pm, then join the procession to the Minster.
Craft at The Piece Hall
Step back in time and help the Victorian housekeepers transform The Piece Hall ready for the festive season. These lovely workshops include huddling round the fireplace for a story, playing Victorian games and creating a beautiful handcrafted gift to take home. Various dates available.
Or, pop along to Custard Create on the top floor, pay £5 and your children will be able to have the craft session of their dreams, exploring the craft drawers and making whatever takes their fancy.
Little ones can also enjoy Tinsel Tots sessions on December 7, 14 and 21 at 10am. Combining movement, making and music, there will be interactive storytelling, festive craft activities and a jiving, jingling percussion session with Christmas-themed songs.
There’s something so deliciously Christmassy about going to the theatre at Christmas, and in Calderdale you can choose from festive classics such as The Nutcracker at Victoria Theatre, to more modern productions such as Snow Play, at Square Chapel. There are the usual pantomime offerings too, including Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast and The Piece Hall has plenty of fun to choose from.
Fancy a festive theatre outing? Choose a Christmas show from our list.