This is a sponsored article on behalf of the Royal Albert Hall.
Did you know that the Royal Albert Hall's been getting Londoners into the Christmas spirit for a whole century and a half?
Every December since 1871, the treasured venue has treated audiences to some of the finest festive entertainment in town — that's even longer than Quality Street or advent calendars have a been a thing — and this year's 150th anniversary celebrations are no exception.
Read on to see what's waiting for you inside its opulent, jewel-hued auditorium this year — including ballet, a big band extravaganza, singalong carols, and a star-studded variety show with a science-y twist.
Let's start with something to put a bit of swing in your step: Guy Barker's Big Band Christmas, which takes place on Friday 10 December. Now in its sixth year, this seasonal staple sees the eponymous composer and trumpeter joined onstage by a whole host of special guests from the worlds of jazz and soul.
There's more foot-tapping festive fun to be had later in the month, when Trevor Nelson's Soul Christmas rolls into town on Tuesday 21 December. The BBC Radio 2 and Radio 1Xtra DJ has curated a cracking line-up of performers — we're talking Chic's Kimberly Davis, Basement Jaxx vocalist Vula Malinga, and Corinne Bailey Rae, to name but a few.
Looking for something the whole family can enjoy? You can't go wrong with The Muppets Christmas Carol. And the Royal Albert Hall has elevated this festive classic to new heights, screening it in HD as the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra perform the original score live on stage. Catch Kermit's career-defining turn as Bob Cratchit on Saturday 11 December.
More Christmassy fun for your young ones comes in the form of My Christmas Orchestral Adventure on Sunday 12 December. Travel around the world with National Youth Choirs of Great Britain in search of Father Christmas, who's lost his trusty map on his practice delivery route. Can your little elves help return it, thus saving Santa from the most chaotic nightshift of his career?
Kids can also catch up with Father Christmas at storytime, happening every morning Monday-Saturday, until Tuesday 21 December.
How about some carols? On Monday 13 December, the Royal Choral Society — which has performed at the Royal Albert Hall every Christmas since 1872 — busts out all the bangers: Silent Night, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, O Come all Ye Faithful...
The carols continue with Jonas Kauffman's operatic stylings on Thursday 16 December, a soul-stirring performance by the London Community Gospel Choir on Friday 17 December, and there's a singalong taking place almost every day from Saturday 18 December to Christmas Eve.
Traditionalists should also mark Wednesday 15 December in their diaries: that's when you can catch the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's annual performance of Handel's Messiah, which — fun fact — has regaled Royal Albert Hall audiences a whopping 566 times since the venue's inception.
Variety shows are a staple of the holiday season, and Professor Brian Cox and Robin Ince's Christmas Compendium of Reason — on Tuesday 14 December — is one of the best. This music and science mashup typically features a star-studded line-up, with the likes of The Cure, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and astronaut Chris Hadfield having taken to the stage in previous years.
Rounding off the Royal Albert Hall's festive programme is Birmingham Royal Ballet's critically-acclaimed production of The Nutcracker, which returns for a fourth year, 28-31 December. This quintessential Christmas treat's got it all: gorgeous period costumes, Tchaikovsky's ethereal compositions, and — natch — lots of world-class dancing.
You can peruse the programme in full here. Some dates are bound to sell out fast, so make sure you grab your tickets asap.