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Top Five Free Christmas Activities

27 December 2011 | London Calling

Now the big day has been and gone, and you've had one too many mince pies, head out, get some fresh air and experience some great festive experiences before the season is over.

In the days leading up to Christmas Day, our minds present us with fanciful ideas of the festivities to come. The notion of consuming more mince pies than decent in civilized society becomes a cheeky challenge; the mulled wine, the hot chocolate, the absence of frantic work emails, the presents... Yes, we are adults, but we all possess benign expectations of what Christmas holds in store.
 
Yet this Festive Dream rarely encapsulates the full 'twelve days' of Christmas. Indeed, for many of us the days following Boxing Day and leading up to New Year loom suddenly from the wilderness and pounce on our food coma-affected, mulled wine-hazed minds.
 
This hesitant period comprises of an interim of gloom in which the whines of tired children can no longer be subdued by another repeat of the Doctor Who Christmas Special, and your Great-Aunt's fifteenth recital of your second-cousin's success with the Jersey Under-14 bowling team becomes beyond endurance.
 
So the reality of an uninterrupted week of relatives and children has arrived: fear not.
 
You may have splashed out your emergency funds in the heights of seasonal joy, you may have hit a food-induced lethargic low which makes abhorrent the notion of venturing outside, but if you know where to look London has provided a myriad of activities for your entertainment.
 
Here, I present the gems of London's collection: they require minimal physical exertion and are absolutely free. Yet they will provide an abundance of entertainment for relatives young and old alike.
 
So grab one last glass of mulled wine, leave your purse at home, and make the most of the dying days to 2011 with these Top Five gems…
 
1. Nativity at Covent Garden
10 November 2011 - 05 January 2012

The ancient and modern collide as the story of the Birth of Christ is re-told through the technology of modernity. Visual Artist, Martha Fiennes, re-tells the tale through the medium of digital slides. Yet the story is never the same; the slides alternate to create new angles and methods of passing on the tale. Stay as long as you are entertained. A fantastic opportunity to provide your children (and yourself) with a cultural, artistic and theological insight, before perusing the Covent Garden Market.
 
 
2. Traditional German Market
19 November 2011 - 03 January 2012 10am - 10pm

Sink into the traditional German Christmas Spirit as the Traditional German market makes a return visit to Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland. Traditional German beers and mulled wine, as well as snacks such as nuts and crepes are served from decorated Chalets. Peruse the traditional wooden toys for sale across the market, as German carols by candlelight add to the ambience.
 
 
3. Natural History Museum: Red Zone

Warm yourself up with a diversion into the Natural History Museum. The 'Red Zone', forms part of the museums Christmas exhibition and can provide ample entertainment via a virtual journey around the planet, for the most excitable children. The exhibition goes right back 'To the Very Beginning', before pulling your child into the present and examining the impact of human activity of the earth today. To finish your visit, the much-loved Diplodocus skeleton in the entrance hall has been laden with lights which will flash and glow before you head back out into the Christmas Chill.
 
 
4. Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree
1 December 2011 - 06 January 2012

The vast tree peering over Trafalgar Square is given yearly to Britain from Norway, as a gift to thank the UK for its help during the Second World War. Following tradition, the tree remains lit until the twelfth day of Christmas before it is promptly resigned to the compost heap.
 
 
5. Geffrye Museum: Christmas Past
Tuesday 29 November 2011 - Sunday 8 January 2012

Lose yourself in 400 years of traditional English Christmas. The Geffrye Museum presents eleven period rooms, decked out with the decor of Christmas past. This exhibition allows us to contrast our own festive celebrations with those bygone. Revel in the 1930's parlour games and festive mistletoe. A treat for children and adults alike.
 
Plus, on Friday 6th January, the Geffrye Museum is celebrating the Epiphany in style, with the traditional burning of the Holly and Ivy, Mulled Wine, Twelfth Night Cake and carols. All outdoors (so dress-up for the occasion), and free.
 
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