December in London

Josh Barrie

Are you an elf? Of course you're not – we just didn’t want to begin our December round-up talking about how it hasn’t snowed yet, and how ‘it’s the end of another year’. We know 2015 is finishing because it gets dark just after lunch time. And who knows whether 2015 will be a white Christmas? Nobody. One thing we do know, however, is that despite the coldness, London will be fun!

Yes, we've got to get Christmassy. It's Advent. People are devouring chocolate everywhere and, we dare to admit, somebody's mum just sent them a pair of festive socks. Oh dear.

We might put them on for the "world's first and only Santa's grotto in a double-decker caravan palace," though. If you can't wear seasonal socks to one of those, what can you wear them to? Precisely.

The event, which takes place this coming Saturday (Sat Dec 5), is at Hackney's Sutton House at the 'Car Breaker's Yard' garden playground. Decorations have been put up to nurture a magical, enchanting feel, where kids and grown-ups alike can start to feel warm and fuzzy and excited about turkey and cake and other such delights.

"Warm mulled wine, crackling wood fires with the halls and chambers of Sutton House filled with an extravaganza of pop-up shops and stalls run by local artisans," says the website, which may or may not have been written by a busy elf. It looks all very family-orientated, and costs just £1 for adults. Kids go free. More info on the National Trust website.

Something probably not so in-tune to family fun is December's Disco Picnic revelry. And that's not to say it's in any way promiscuous, it's just if there's ever an opportunity to let your hair down before the 25th, it's there.

The outlandish party planners are hosting shindigs of musical proportions, blending culinary expedition with beats and art. In short, you'll have the chance to munch on some delicious street food, all the while listening to some niceness. A mellow start will allow some casual grazing on BBQ joint Smokey Tails. Later, as the DJs pick up the funk, soul, and disco, it'll likely all get less chilled, more dancey.

The parties are being run from December 3 to 19, and yes of course there'll be cocktails. Oh, and it all happens in old Victorian houses, fusing, perhaps, a somewhat Dickensian festive vibe (not impoverished) with new-age Peckham modernism. Disco Picnic's nights are £3 after 8pm and free before. There are more details on the group's Facebook page.

Continuing on the DJ vibe, we can't help but mention the club nights at Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason, which is in itself a wondrous affair. Day or night, the beautiful ice rink, set amid that classic Victorian courtyard, sings of Christmas. Champagne and private dining feature, and if Christmas isn't white, at least for a while you can make it so, while falling down and dreaming of roasted chestnuts.

It's the evenings that spark our imagination most. Top DJs will be spinning all manner of music at the rink, be it techno, house, hip hop, garage, and pretty much everything else you might find yourself grooving to in a club. We apologise for writing the word 'grooving' there.

Anyway, there'll be sessions from Ministry of Sound, and London Soul Train, also of Peckham (it's just such a happening place), and there'll even be special party dedicated to Prince and hosted by Rob da Bank. As if you needed more of an excuse to slide about on a patch of ice, sporting mittens, falling down? Info here.

Finally, we must move past Christmas. Because it comes and goes so fast. But there's still something worth mentioning for December, albeit at the very end.

This year, glorious London restaurant St. John is hosting one of its "special events". But for the first time, it's putting on a New Year's Eve party. It'll be its first in its 21 years dishing out meats, bread and wine.

You can expect what the place is good for on the night: "Delicious things on plates, excellent things in glasses, and the most convivial company."

And you might also be a little astonished to hear that there'll also be a disco ball. Yes, really. And music. There boils another first!

Fergus Henderson has put together the menu, for what sounds like quite a family styled intimate dinner. The "feast" includes the likes of snails in bacon, pheasant and trotter pie, bone marrow, of course, and Eccles cakes among many other treats. There'll be Madeleines and Vielle Prune.

After filling up – given the restaurant's addition of music and a disco ball, not to mention the far more regular occurrence of fizz and merriment – the more rowdy (not badly) New Year party atmosphere will likely arrive. The party goes on from 7pm to 2am and tickets are £160. To book, visit the website and search for Izzy. Or just call up, the old fashioned way.

Merry Christmas!

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