8 December – A Christmas Extravaganza & Selfridges' seasonal cocktails

Polly Checkland Harding

Our cultural countdown to Christmas… Put Central Library’s weekend of family fun in the diary, plus some festive cocktails for grown-ups.

Manchester Central Library is holding a family extravaganza this weekend (11am-4pm 12 December, 12pm-4pm 13 December), with free events throughout the building – and even spilling outside. There’s a great line-up of local choirs and bands who’ll be playing live, festive crafting and reading dens, free mince pies, an appearance from Father Christmas (and some of his reindeer) as well as best-selling children’s author Cornelia Funke, the writer of the book that inspired HOME’s Christmas production for families, Inkheart. Funke will be reading from this and her latest novel in the library’s iconic Reading Room; also a good place to play with the echo. Christmas Extravaganza, Central Library, 11am-4pm 12 December, 12pm-4pm 13 December, free

A festive weekender for families, plus cocktails for adults

Over in Exchange Square, San Carlo Bottega in Selfridges has created a new range of stylish seasonal cocktails, each named after a constellation. Selfridges’ Christmas theme is ‘Journey to the Stars’, and this is one helluva way to mark it: enjoy a gin-based Sagittarius with sherry, orange liqueur and sea salt, or a Libran red wine and amaretto based cocktail, beautifully balanced with apple and lemon juice, vanilla syrup and berries. Yum. Cocktails at San Carlo Bottega, Selfridges Exchange Square

Culture Guides

Image credit: Maryna Makarenko, Sun-Eaters, 2022

Cinema

Classic pre-Code cinema, the Artist Film Weekender and the music of John Williams are amongst our highlights this month.

Exhibitions

Pause in the hustle and bustle of festive prep to take in some inspiration from this month’s top exhibitions.

The Ocean at the End of The Lane at the lowry

Families

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Manchester is bursting with fun, family activities to keep the kids entertained in the run up to Christmas!

Writer Nicholas Royle. Photo by Zoe McLean

Literature

There are spooky stories, Christmas crime thrillers and plenty of books for stocking fillers as December unfolds and Manchester and the wider North region switches on the live literature lights.

Music

The festive season is here, and whether you want to escape it or embrace it, we’ve got you covered.

Theatre in Manchester and the North

Theatre

Alongside radical sci-fi adaptations and free arts festivals, we take a look at some of the Christmas shows happening in the North.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Food and Drink

Explore the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North for autumn.

Tours and Activities

We’re deep into Autumn now but don’t let that stop you from finding a new tour or activity to get stuck into.

Things to do right now

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Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Pottery at Earth Pig Pottery and Fine Art in Buxton

Visual Arts Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Graffiti at Zap Graffiti

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £95

Blacksmithing at Forge Four

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £15

Embroidery with Sara Dennis at Lancaster Castle

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £59

Making silver stacker rings at The Old Granary

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £13

Candle making at Cheshire Workshops

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £60

Glass fusing at Glassmonkey Studio

Textile taxidermy
Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £80

Textile taxidermy with Jaki Bogg at Craven Arts Studios

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £3.50

Knittaz with Attitude: Yarnbombing at Upside Down Coffee

Cinema Until 8 December 2022, from £7.95

Aftersun at HOME