Free Christmas things to do with the kids in Manchester in December 2021

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Fed up shelling out a fortune to see all things festive? Here are some Christmas activities you can do for free with the family this year.

It’s the most wonderful - and expensive - time of the year.

Gone are the days when you just had to join a queue and pay a pound or two to meet Santa at a garden centre - Christmas events can now cost a packet.

To help ease the burden a little, we’ve pulled together a number of fun things you can do for free this December in Manchester.

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Frost Fair

The Whitworth, Oxford Road, Manchester, Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 December, 11am to 7pm daily.

With music, entertainment and workshops as well as an outdoor cinema and the city’s biggest outdoor dancefloor, there is tons to see and do for all ages on offer.

Buy a gift at the craft markets, enjoy a mini disco (from 11am each day) for little ones, a host of DJs for the grown-ups and round off the weekend with fireworks on Sunday evening.

Find out the full programme at the Whitworth website here.

Festival of Christmas trees

Quayside (formerly the Lowry shopping centre), on from now til Saturday 5 December

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Take a break from Christmas shopping to browse dozens of decorated trees and a model village, as part of a big display donated on behalf of the Francis House charity. Organisations including Manchester United, the Co-op and local Women’s Institutes have been involved in the decorating, and trees and signed gifts will be auctioned off for the hospice: see here.

Christmas trees   Credit: ShutterstockChristmas trees   Credit: Shutterstock
Christmas trees Credit: Shutterstock | Shutterstock

Christmas Extravanganza

Manchester Central Library, Saturday 11 December from 10-4pm

One for all the family, with choirs singing songs and carols, Christmas crafts for children and mulled wine, hot chocolate and festive treats to warm up parents in the cafe. Santa is also expected to put in an appearance!

Big Santa outside Central LibraryBig Santa outside Central Library
Big Santa outside Central Library | JPI

Etsy Pop-up Christmas Fairs

People’s History Museum, Spinningfields, Manchester, Thursday 2 December to Sunday 5 December, and Thursday 9 December to Sunday 12 December

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Pop in for free and browse some unique, handmade local gifts from the Etsy Manchester crafters. Each fair features different makers and if you make a purchase, the museum receives a donation. The museum itself is also free entry with an option to donate.

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