alternative things to do at christmas
The Ghost of New Hollywood, Robert Redford signs off with The Old Man & The Gun

Bah humbug! Alternative Things to do at Christmas

Ben Williams

If you are to believe the talking heads on the telly, Britain has never been a more divided country. Has it not though? Surely we’ve always had our differences and never more so than between the sound of the year’s first premature squeak of Mariah Carey, right through the misery of all the Black Friday nonsense, via an unwelcome family get-together at your weird auntie’s house and then, finally, to the big day.

Christmas. To many, it’s the most magical time of the year. To others, it’s a drawn out saga on such an epic scale of cruelty that it could have come from the pen of George R. R. Martin himself.

Christmas is though, inescapable. From high street tat, to eggnog in The Dog & Duck, even the bus drivers are dressing up as Santa (though still somehow missing any resemblance of festive cheer). So, cry ‘bah humbug!’ and let slip the best things to do this month that have nothing to do with Christmas.

(and for everyone else, here’s a link to our unmissable coverage of Christmas in Manchester and the North…)

Here are our picks

  • 1. Wake Up Together and Where Love is Illegal at Open Eye Gallery

    Ren Hang: Wake Up Together at Open Eye Gallery
    Untitled, Ren Hang, 2016. Stieglitz19

    Wake Up Together at Open Eye Gallery, Waterfront, 16 November 2018–17 February 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool presents ‘Ren Hang: Wake Up Together’ and ‘Robin Hammond: Where Love Is Illegal’ – two exhibitions championing the rights of every person to love who they want and respectfully live as they wish.

  • 2. ARTIST ROOMS: Robert Mapplethorpe at The Atkinson

    ARTIST ROOMS: Robert Mapplethorpe at The Atkinson
    Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

    ARTIST ROOMS: Robert Mapplethorpe at The Atkinson, Southport, 15 December 2018–23 March 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Robert Mapplethorpe is widely regarded as one of the world’s most important artists of the late twentieth century. A group of his photographs on display at The Atkinson will include iconic self-portraits, studies of flowers, portraits of many of the most influential artists and celebrities of the New York cultural scene in the 1970s &1980s.

  • 3. Electricity: The Spark of Life at the Science and Industry Museum

    Museum of London

    Electricity: The spark of life at Science and Industry Museum, Castlefield, 18 October 2018–28 April 2019, free entry - Visit now

    The headline event from this year’s Manchester Science Festival, this super-charged new exhibition tells the story of our quest to understand, unlock and master the power of electricity.

  • 4. The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture 2018 at The Hepworth Wakefield

    Visitors view work by Michael Dean in The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture. 26 October 2018 - 20 January 2019. Photo, David Lindsay
    Visitors view work by Michael Dean in The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture. 26 October 2018 - 20 January 2019. Photo, David Lindsay

    The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture at The Hepworth Wakefield, 26 October 2018–20 January 2019, free entry - Visit now

    The celebrated Hepworth Prize for Sculpture returns for its second edition featuring an exciting range of high-profile artists and offering a compelling look at the state of the age-old discipline today.

  • 5. Pubs in Manchester

    Britons Protection entrance.
    Image courtesy of Briton's Protection

    From a beautifully tiled old haunt with a mysteriously sloping floor, to the ultimate beer specialists – is there anywhere better to escape the mayhem of the festive season? Here are some of the best old fashioned boozers in Manchester.

  • 6. Top places to go rural (without leaving Manchester)

    Disley, home to Lyme Park. Image by Dave Dunford via Wikimedia Commons

    Finally, just leave the city behind and go for a nice crisp winter walk.

Things to do right now

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Cheese Making at Food Sorcery
Activity 19–20 January 2019, from £100

Cheese Making at Food Sorcery

Mandy Barker: Hong Kong Soup at CFCCA Manchester
Exhibitions 12 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

Mandy Barker: Hong Kong Soup at CFCCA

Charwei Tsai: Bulaubulau at CFCCA
Exhibitions 12 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

Charwei Tsai: Bulaubulau at CFCCA

ReFrame at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 20 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

ReFrame at Manchester Art Gallery

Cinema 7 December 2018–20 January 2019, from £5

Slapstick Film Season at HOME

HOME at Christmas
Festivals 13 December 2017–20 January 2019,

HOME at Christmas

PUSH Festival 2019 at HOME
Festivals 11–26 January 2019,

PUSH Festival 2019 at HOME

LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY at Site Gallery
Exhibitions 29 September 2018–27 January 2019, FREE

LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY at Site Gallery

Craft Beer Tour Around Manchester
Food and Drink 1 November 2018–1 February 2019, from £30

Craft Beer Tour Around Manchester

Exhibitions 12 January–1 February 2019, FREE

Motion Sickness at STOCK Gallery

The Producers - A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange
Music 30 November 2018–2 February 2019, from £10.00

The Producers – A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange