Now, I've overheard some debate in recent weeks about when exactly it is acceptable to begin celebrating Christmas. The general consensus appears to be December 1st, and I must concede that even I - that most fervent of festive supporters - considered the playing of Mariah Carey in Debenhams last weekend a little on the premature side. So in keeping with this general mood of restraint, here are a few Christmassy things I have my eye on for December...
1. Christmas Extravaganza at Oddest, Chorlton - Sat 7th December. I've become very partial to Chorlton since the powers-that-be so obligingly extended the Metrolink, and I am most interested in an all-day shindig that offers me a hog roast (which will be slow roasting all day on the terrace, and served up with rum plum chutney, cider sage and apple sauce) as well as live music from a number of acts including Jo Rose and Walk, Christmassy cocktails with names like Bailey's Bauble, hot cider and mulled wine, and winter ales. The free winter festival starts at 1pm and appears to have no official end time, suggesting it carries on until all the booze has gone or the majority of customers have fallen over, whichever comes the sooner.
2. Breakfast with Santa at Hard Rock Cafe, Manchester - Sat 14th December, 9-11am. If you can't wait until the big day, Hard Rock are promising a visit from the big man a full 11 days ahead of schedule along with a full English breakfast and party games, all for £7.50 per child and £9 per adult. They are also doing a three course Thanksgiving dinner for £25 on November 28th, but I'm not allowed to mention this due to the pesky December curfew thing.
3. Levenshulme Christmas Market - Friday 20th December. I'm a big fan of this independent market - it offers a range of food and gift stalls and has a lovely feel to it. I've been to the November one this morning, and purchased some pork, bacon, sprout and chestnut sausages from Bobby's Bangers (which are even better than last year's, following advice from a sprout-loving girl that they required more of the green stuff), bread from Robinson's Bakers, and cheese and butter from Winter Tarn Farm - and, shamefully, have already eaten most of it. The next market will be an evening affair, which means ideally I need someone to pick me up and transport me there so that I may drink mulled wine and warble winsomely along with the Christmas carols - interested chauffeurs may apply via the normal email address.
4. And finally, just when you think Christmas is over and all the fun has been had, you remember about the Bop Local Not Quite New Year's Eve party at Chorlton Irish on 28th December. Resident DJ Phil Beckett will be welcoming Inspiral legend Clint Boon as his guest DJ - past experience suggests we will all drink too much, and cry a bit when we do the singalong with Clint when he plays This is How it Feels (or maybe that was just me, I can't quite recall). Advance tickets £8 from the Bop Local website or from Chris at Chorlton Irish. There is also a Bop Local Christmas party in Prestwich the night before for any particularly hardcore boppers who can manage two nights out in a row.
- Oddest is at 414 – 416 Wibraham Road, Chorlton M21 0SD; Hard Rock Manchester is in the Printworks on Exchange Square; Levy Market can be found on the carpark of Levenshulme Train Station; Chorlton Irish Club is at 17 High Lane, M21 9DJ. And by the way, I lied - all that stuff about waiting till December is nonsense, and that's precisely why I've consumed two mince pies during the writing of this post.