Free Things To Do Over Christmas

Stating the completely obvious here, but Christmas is hella expensive! One problem with writing up all the activities on offer is that it sometimes it can seem like we are saying ‘you have to do x, y and z’ when really we are more about picking just one or two things you love to spend money on and go free or cheap with the rest (if at all, we all need some downtime too!). For instance, in our house we will probably go and see a play but avoid doing the meet and greet with Santa as the red chap is still considered a bit scary.

I also think it is important to remember that quite often we are putting this pressure on ourselves. Yes of course children like Christmassy stuff, but I don’t think they expect to go to plays and pantos and crafting sessions (they do expect to open presents and eat loads of chocolates, but that’s a different story!) as much as we think they do. We want to provide a magical Christmas of course, but sometimes that comes from the most random things you can’t possibly predict (expect the presents and the sweeties, that much is locked down). The advantage of free/low-cost events is that you can go with an open heart and not feel under too much pressure for everything to be completely perfect.

We are starting off this list now but hoping to add to it as we find out more events and free things to do, so please check back to see if we have added more stuff. And on that note, do send us free events that you think would be suitable, we are always happy to hear from you! The only wiggle room is that some events might have a suggested donation which we generally think is a good idea to stick to unless you are completely broke (in which case don’t feel guilty, most organisations are actually funded to support people who are truly feeling the pinch). Here’s to a slightly cheaper Christmas this year!

Bear for a Bear Christmas Extravaganza, Sale

This adorable family charity activity was featured in our giving week. Zoe from Two by Two (who helped organise) told me, “Basically we very much want to encourage  people to think about how much love and comfort is fundamentally important for children – and how much we take it for granted. It is important we recognise that some children are not lucky enough to have teddies or family to hug and comfort them. Christmas is such an exciting time for children, but also a time when we must remember others.”

Sale Library, Saturday 25 November 10.30-5.30pm

Christmas Storytime, Chorlton

Get your pjs on and head down to The Edge’s cafe The Dressing Room (we love it there!) next Tuesday to join Alice and Emily for the first of their series of Christmas bedtime story times. As a guideline this is aimed at ages 4-6.

The Edge, Chorlton, Tuesday 28 & Wednesday 29 November, Tuesday 5 & Wednesday 6 December and Tuesday 19 & Wednesday 20 December all from 4pm, free to attend

Aladdin, Old Trafford Library

A free performance of a pantomime classic, all ages are welcome but at a running time is approx. two hours plus a 15 minute interval, we suggest this might be best for 6+. Please note that there is a limit of six tickets per booking. For more info, please contact or 0161 912 3189.

Old Trafford Library, Saturday 2 December 1pm, free

A Dot in The Snow, Our Kid

We think A Dot in the Snow , with its beautiful illustrations and heartwarming story, is an ideal Christmas gift (seriously it is so my go-to Christmas gift now that I worry I’m going to give it again to the same people), and you can head along to a reading by its author Corrinne Averiss, while you snuggle up with a complimentary hot choc for the kids.

Our Kid, Saturday 25 November 10.30am-2pm, free

University of Manchester Relaxed Sing Along

Get yourself in the festive spirit with a free and extremely relaxed event full of carols and festive participation, with an informal atmosphere unlike a traditional concert. The event is intended specifically to be sensitive to and accepting of audience members who may benefit from a more relaxed environment, including (but not limited to) those with autistic spectrum conditions, anyone with a learning disability or a sensory and communication disorder. Parents are welcome to bring small children, families should feel welcome to bring members living with dementia, please contact the Martin Harris Centre to discuss any requirements.

Martin Harris Centre, 15 December 1-2pm, free

Festive Ink, People’s History Museum

Inspired by the new Savage Ink exhibition, this regular crafting event invites children to make their own greeting card with a though-proviking message. Free though a donation on £3 is welcomed.

People’s History Museum, 23 December (exl. 24,25, 26 Dec)- 1 January

Christmas Carols at Ordsall Hall

Come and enjoy some festive favourites performed in the Great Hall by the Brass Quartet from the Salford Music and Performing Arts Service.

Ordsall Hall, Sunday 3 December 2-4pm, free

WinterFest, Hulme Garden Centre

A festive day of beautiful craft stalls, free activities, food, drink and frolics! Free entry though you may end up spending on the stalls of course…

Hulme Garden Centre, Saturday 2 December 12pm-6pm, free

Don’t forget to check back as we update this list through the coming weeks! If you are planning some Christmas treats we recommend taking a look at some of the lovely festive theatre around at the moment.

If you’d like regular updates, enter your email address below, why not, it’s free! You can also follow us on Facebook or Instagram.  And thank you for taking the time to read our blog, we love hearing back from you and if you have any suggestions for our pages, just comment below, we’d love to hear.

As always, if something on this list has taken your fancy, we highly recommend checking on the links provided to make sure a session hasn’t been moved or cancelled before you travel.


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