Southampton is seemingly having a particularly festive Christmas this year- in fact it has well and truly already started!
Before advent had even begun, a huge sleigh-full of Santa’s warmed up for the Christmas Eve delivery run, with a much shorter but still impressive, 3 kilometre dash round Southampton Common.
If you missed this mass gathering, there will be another in the form of a Princess record attempt in aid of Countess Mountbatten Hospice. Okay arguably this one is not strictly festive, but it does feature Widow Twankey from The Mayflower’s 3D pantomime, Aladdin staring Joe Pasquale as Wishee Washee and Blue’s Duncan James in the title role.
Pantomimes are so fun but if you cry “Oh no it isn’t!” then perhaps a trip to the Nuffield to see Merlin will warm your Christmas cheer.
You may also need warming with a Gingerbread Latte (of course one in a festive cup!) whilst singing carols round the Christmas tree or carols on Highfield Rec. If it’s a traditional family Christmas that ‘fills your stockings’, then you will also enjoy either the Victorian Christmas or the real animal Nativity at Manor Farm (so no need for little / George to play 3rd lizard).
Christmas is special for kids and although the theatre and Manor Farm is great for the younger ones, why not treat them to a Seasonal craft session at Southampton Art Gallery. Who knows, it might just produce one of those decorations that gets brought out every year being hidden further round each time but full of childhood memories.
A couple other events which will certainly feature in a future reminiscence, albeit slightly further afield, are Exbury’s Postal Express and Buckler’s Hard’s Christmas paddle . Full marks for thinking out of the [gift-]box means these should be unique events.
Talking of our rural neighbours, they are also coming to us, into the city. Why not pick up some special treats including for your Christmas lunch, when the New Forest and Hampshire Producer’s Market visits The Boutique Village. The usual mix of crafts with the bonus of good quality food should help every family feast!
Mentioning of food and drink I will quickly make a slight detour… Although unfortunately, it is talk of tours that might go down as well as Granny’s hand-knitted sweater. This is due to the fact that there is no stop for Coca-Cola’s Holidays are coming truck, although on the upside there is growing speculation that we are due one of Cadbury’s Advent Calendar Advert Trucks!
Back to markets, the other great seasonal one is the traditional German market. The last few years they have been imported so you don’t even need to make the long drive to Bavaria! Once again it has settled down in Above Bar and forms part of the Southampton Christmas Festival.
As well as the wide selection of gifts, food and drink on offer, Santa will be handing out presents from the large Advent Calendar shortly after flying in. Yes, Santa (with the help of the reindeer and a little magic) flies in twice a day!
And with another utterance of Santa, that neatly takes me in full circle… But in keeping with an awkward kiss under the mistletoe, it doesn’t have to stop just yet!
Like a Christmas evening cold turkey and stuffing sandwich there’s plenty of scrummy left overs that didn’t make it into my varied whistle-stop tour. I would recommend a visit to a comprehensive list at Discover Southampton.