Things To Do Today In London: Thursday 5 December 2019

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The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree lights are switched on tonight

Things to do

THE GIFT OF PRESENTS: Dust off your baubles for The Gift of Presents, a festive show featuring drag king Messiah Shesus, and a pair of nuns. Expect something between cabaret, comedy, a carol concert and therapy. Battersea Arts Centre, £12.50/£10, book ahead, 5-6 December

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING: Marylebone Lane hosts a Christmas shopping evening with free events, activities, workshops, live music and more going on in shops and businesses around the area. Marylebone Lane, free, just turn up, 5pm-8pm

The Gift of Presents at Battersea Arts Centre

TRAFALGAR SQUARE TREE: From a forest just outside Oslo, to the urban centre of London, the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree has made quite a journey. Tonight, its lights are finally switched on for the season, at a free lighting ceremony, complete with festive choirs. Get there early for a decent view. Trafalgar Square, free, just turn up, 6pm

PRINTS FOR REFUGEES: Attend the opening night of a new photography exhibition in aid of refugees. Several photographers have donated their works including Andy Lo Pó, Cat Hyland, Holly Falconer and Toby Coulson, and some of them will be present at the launch event tonight. Hoxton Cabin, free, book ahead, 6pm-9pm

MIDNIGHT APOTHECARY: Rotherhithe's pop-up Midnight Apothecary bar hosts cockney sing along expert Tom Carradine for a raucous night. Begin your evening around the campfire in the secret garden before descending underground into Brunel's Grand Entrance Hall for a rendition of wartime, music hall and East End tunes. Brunel Museum (Rotherhithe), £15, book ahead, 6pm-10pm

Hear from Gina Miller

STAY ANOTHER DAY: The Trafalgar Square tree's bulbs aren't the only Christmas lights going on today. East 17, the boyband mainly known for Christmas single Stay Another Day, perform the hit song at the switch-on event in Stratford's East Village, with other local musicians on the bill. The lights go on at 7pm, but there's plenty of other family-friendly entertainment throughout the evening. East Village (Stratford), free, just turn up, 6.30pm

GINA MILLER: Hear from Gina Miller, who has taken the government to court — and won — twice. She's faced threats and abuse as a result of her campaigns, and tonight's a chance to hear her life story, including her failures and successes. Conway Hall (Holborn), £30, book ahead, 6.45pm-8pm

ARCHITECTURE ON STAGE: The latest event in Barbican's Architecture on Stage series features Dirk Somers. The founding director of Antwerp-based architects Bovenbouw talks about the work of his practice. Barbican, £15, book ahead, 7pm

Learn about Christmas through the centuries at National Archives

CHRISTMAS IN THE ARCHIVES: Specialists from the National Archives give a free 20-minute talk about Christmas in different time periods, using information found in the archives. Hear about how the Victorians 'invented' modern Christmas traditions, the first world war Christmas truce and the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree. National Archives (Kew), free, book ahead, 7.30pm

WOMEN AT WAR: Talkies Community Cinema hosts a screening of Women At War, a film by Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson. It's the story of an environmental guerrilla battling government plans to build a new aluminium smelter amid the breathtaking beauty of rural Iceland. Dugdale Centre (Enfield), £6.50, book ahead, 7.45pm

Tube ponderings with Barry Heck

Our resident tube fancier dishes out daily thoughts on the London Underground.

Has the Floradix Lady ever caused you to yawn during your daily commute? Well now she has competition. Look out for these copycat posters featuring Feroglobin Woman, all over the tube.

Follow Barry on Twitter @HeckTube.

Good cause of the day

Take part in a Santa Dash around Brockwell Park

There's still time to sign up for Sunday's Santa Dash in Brockwell Park. Pick from the 5k or 10k route, don a Santa suit (provided), and run, jog or walk your way around to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. Find out more and sign up.

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