Things to do this week is sponsored by As Nature Intended.
ICE SKATING: Let us guess... every year you promise yourself that this is the year you'll give ice skating a go, but you never quite make it. With all these ice rinks open across London, there's no excuse for not giving it a go, and you might even find that you're a budding Torvill or Dean.
LIGHT FESTIVALS: London is positively ablaze at the moment with lasers, illuminations, lanterns and light tunnels — and that's before we even mention the Christmas lights. Shed some light on the matter with our guide to London's winter 2018 light festivals.
WINTER WARMERS: Get in the festive spirit and do some good at the same time with Union Chapel's Winter Warmers. The week of Christmas events includes film screenings, a cockney singalong and a Christmas market, with money raised invested back into the Chapel. Union Chapel (Islington), various prices, book ahead, 3-9 December
LONDON FILM WEEK: Who needs Cannes when you've got London? Film makers, directors, producers and actors descend on the capital for London Film Week. Programme highlights include a preview screening of new Keira Knightley film Colette, the European premiere of Are You Glad I'm Here, and plenty of short narrative, animation and documentary films. Various times and venues, booking required, 4-10 December
WHAT THE DICKENS: Charles Dickens's dinner parties were the stuff of legend in 19th century London. From who was invited to what was eaten, the events were subject to much speculation. Now, find out the truth behind the rumours at Dinner With Dickens, an exhibition about what food meant to Dickens, how it fuelled his imagination, and what it represents in his stories. Dickens Museum (Bloomsbury), included in museum admission, booking recommended, until 22 April 2019
Monday 3 December
CHRISTMAS SERVICE: Dame Jacqueline Wilson performs a reading at Coram's Christmas Celebration, an event raising money for the children's charity. Music comes courtesy of the Trevor-Roberts School Choir. St Andrew's Holborn, £17.50/£8.50, book ahead, 6.30pm-9pm
YOU ME AT SIX: Rock out with pop punk legends You Me at Six at Brixton's O2 Academy for an epic start to your week. StubHub currently have tickets from just £20 — get 'em before they're gone. O2 Academy Brixton, from £20 on StubHub while tickets last, book ahead, 7pm (sponsor).
LAURYN HILL: Can you believe that it's been two decades since the release of Lauryn Hill's seminal debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill? Celebrate with the RnB queen herself at the London leg of her much-hyped 20th anniversary tour. The O2 Arena (Greenwich Peninsula), from £60.75 on StubHub while tickets last, book ahead, 7pm (sponsor)
PIPE DREAMS: In this Baroque concert, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment performs music from the 18th century, highlighting the sounds of instruments from that time period. Southbank Centre, £10-£60, book ahead, 7pm
Tuesday 4 December
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: Food + Christmas lights = bliss. Enjoy both on this food-themed guided walk, which takes you down the back streets of the West End, via cosy pubs and posh shops, seeing Christmas lights and decorations as you go. Starts in Marylebone, £9/£12, book ahead, 6.10pm-8pm
CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT: English National Opera’s Chorus performs Messiah's Hallelujah, and the Welsh London Rugby Club choir and Evelina Voices are also on the programme at Ronald McDonald House Charities' fundraising carols by candlelight concert. St Martin In The Fields (Trafalgar Square), £20/£12/£9, book ahead, 6.30pm-9.30pm
THE LEARNER PARENT: The trials and tribulations of new parenthood make up the bulk of comedian, blogger and author Sam Avery's solo show. He's father to twins, so expect double the laughs at tales of sleep deprivation and breast pumps. Leicester Square Theatre, £20/£17, book ahead, 7pm
Wednesday 5 December
CHRISTMAS CEILIDH: Dancing shoes on for this festive ceilidh that doesn't take itself too seriously. It's soundtracked by a live band, and the steps are taught on the night, so don't fret if you're a complete beginner. Exmouth Market, £10-£15, book ahead, 6.30pm-10.30pm
WINDRUSH GENERATIONS: 1000 Londoners' new project is a collection of documentaries portraying the Windrush Generation. Watch short films about the lives of Londoners with Caribbean heritage, including a leader of the recent Windrush protests in Parliament Square. Curzon Soho, £16.50/£14/£9, book ahead, 6.45pm
BREXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP: Former political adviser turned comedian Matt Forde pokes fun at the mess that is Brexit in his comedy show, Brexit Through The Gift Shop. Tonight's your last chance to see it. Southbank Centre, £17.50, book ahead, 8pm
Have yourself an eco-friendly Christmas
From precious time spent with your nearest and dearest to tucking into incredible food, there's plenty to love about Christmas. But you know what we don't love? All that waste: the leftovers that are chucked in the bin, and gimmicky gifts that are cast aside long before the tree drops its needles. Luckily, there is another way.
With its gorgeous range of eco-friendly goodies, As Nature Intended has sustainable seasonal cheer covered. Ditch the tat for for unique (and useful) presents your loved ones will treasure, including plant-based candles in recyclable glass jars, or butterfly-enticing seedbombs. Londonist readers get 20% off online using the code londonist20 AND in store*, so Christmas shopping doesn't have to cost the Earth.
Of course, it's not all about the presents — there's plenty of organic Christmas food, too. Vegans and coeliacs don't have to miss out on a yummy yuletide thanks to As Nature Intended's fabulously festive free-from collection, which includes vegan/gluten-free panettone, mince pies, and chocolates. Click here to download a voucher, and be sure to get your holiday haul in by 15 December in order to redeem your discount.
As Nature Intended has shops in Chiswick, Ealing, Marble Arch, Spitalfields & Westfield Stratford.
Thursday 6 December
ENCHANTED ELTHAM: Another light festival begins tonight: Enchanted Eltham sees the moat and buildings of Eltham Palace illuminated with light, colour and sound. Fairground rides, a gift shop and food and drink stalls also make an appearance. Eltham Palace, £12/£7.50, book ahead, 4.30pm-9pm (and various other dates throughout December)
TRAFALGAR SQUARE TREE: Tonight's the night the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree lights are switched on, accompanied by carol singing and poetry readings. Will it look like a giant cucumber this year? Only time will tell... Trafalgar Square, free, just turn up, from 6pm (early arrival recommended to get a good view)
AUTHOR TALK: Author Kate Atkinson discusses her new spy novel, about the consequences of trying to live a normal life after working for the Secret Service during the second world war. The National Archives (Kew), £8-£10, book ahead, 7pm-8pm
CATS: We never thought we'd see the words 'boring' and 'cats' in the same sentence, but this talk delves into the most pointless mundanities of our feline friends, from cat cafes to cats' eyes. British Library (Euston), £12/£10/£8, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm
APSLEY LATE: Apsley House — also known as Number 1 London — stays open late for an insight into how the likes of the Duke of Wellington would have celebrated Christmas. Apsley House (Hyde Park Corner), £20/£18/£15, book ahead, 7pm-9pm
Friday 7 December
FESTIVE FOOD: A Christmas food fayre pops up in the courtyard of Hampton Court Palace, with artisan producers selling cheese, gin, honey, preserves, chocolates and all manner of other goodies. Stock up your own cupboards, or get a foodie friend a Christmas treat. Local choirs, school groups and musicians provide the entertainment. Hampton Court Palace, £19.20 (includes Palace entry), book ahead, 7-9 December
TEA DANCE: Waltz, foxtrot, tango and rumba the afternoon away at this fun and informal tea dance, hosted at the home of folk dancing. There's even a raffle, so make sure you wear your lucky dancing shoes. Cecil Sharp House (Camden), £5, just turn up, 1pm-4pm
FESTIVE FOLK NIGHT: Local musicians from SW16 are the stars of Hideaway's festive folk night. Enjoy music from alt-folk band Farrago, singer-songwriter Bity Booker, and singer Sherika Sherard, who opened for Seal after he spotted her busking and is now being featured on Spike Lee soundtracks. Hideaway (Streatham), £8/£6, book ahead, 8pm
Saturday 8 December
SANTA CON: If you've never witnessed Santa Con before... well, it's quite a sight. Thousands of people dressed as Santa take to the streets of London, spreading festive cheer and marching several different routes before converging in a central spot (route revealed when you book your ticket). Money raised goes to London charity Christmas For Kids. £5-£20, book ahead, 11am-5pm
FARM CHRISTMAS: Have a day of fun on the farm at Surrey Docks Farm Christmas fair. As well as the usual animals to see, expect a Santa's grotto, Christmas raffle, face painting and children's games. Surrey Docks Farm, free entry (charge for some activities), just turn up, 11am-4pm
ELF: It's time to go hard on Christmas films, starting with Elf. This family-friendly screening of the 2003 Christmas comedy is preceded a craft workshop where kids can make their own Christmas decorations. Harris Academy South Norwood, £5, book ahead, 2pm. See which other festive films are being screened in London this year.
Sunday 9 December
CERAMICS MARKET: Buy directly from the makers at this ceramics fair, which sees 70 ceramicists take over four floors of Rich Mix, selling cups, crockery, baubles, vases and much more. Just take care getting your new goodies home. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), free entry, just turn up, 11am-6pm
DOGGY STYLE: Why should dogs miss out on the capital's Christmas markets? Doggy Style Market is open to canines and their humans, bringing together traders selling pet food, clothing, skincare and more — you can even get a caricature drawn of Fido or Rover. Leake Street (Waterloo), £4/£5 (proceeds go to All Dogs Matter charity), book ahead, 12pm-6pm
SPRINGSTEEN TRIBUTE: Bruce Springsteen tribute act The Boss takes to the stage with all the emotion, passion and fun of Springsteen himself — plus, it's a lot easier to get tickets to this gig than a real Springsteen one. The Half Moon (Putney), £13-£15, book ahead, 8pm