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Counting down December (updated Xmas events)

There is no shortage of things to do (or be done) in December. So in the spirit of giving, here’s a list (updated daily) of events that are free entry, or in the spirit of Christmas. Find more event options in the What’s On, Active/To Do, and Community sections of The Wellington App.

Old St Paul’s Family Christmas Carol Service runs from 6.30 to 7.45pm on Tuesday 11 December at 34 Mulgrave Street, Thorndon (doors open at 6.00pm). The bells will be rung before the service by the Wellington Combined Society of Bellringers. Reverend Canon Simon Winn from Wellington Cathedral of St Paul is the Officiant, with the Anon Vocal Ensemble choir, Hutt City Brass and organist David Trott supplying the music. The proceeds from the Carol Service collection will be given to the Old St Paul’s fund raising campaign for the 2019 Seismic Strengthening project. Please bring non-perishable food items for Women’s Refuge.

It was loud, proud and drew a crowd from 1985 to 1996. Now you can relive the Wellington 500 through a new exhibition at Wellington Museum that examines what made the classic race such a major part of New Zealand’s motor-sport history. The exhibition opens on Saturday 15 December and you can test your micro-pedal mettle with a lap or two around the purpose-built RC track from 12.00 to 3.00pm daily until 13 January 2019. Free admission.

Festive family favourite The 12 Storytimes of Christmas returns to Wellington City Libraries from 17 to 21 December. The sessions are suitable for families with children of all ages. Dress in your favourite Christmas costume or pajamas, and listen to stories and songs about the Christmas season. No need to book, just turn up for the sessions which start at 6.00pm, and run for 45 minutes. On Monday 17 December, storytime is at Brooklyn, Cummings Park (Ngaio) and Miramar libraries; Tuesday is Wellington Central Library (children’s section), Thursday is the turn of Wadestown, Karori, Khandallah, Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) and Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) libraries, and Island Bay Community Centre. And Johnsonville and Newtown libraries are visited on Friday 21 December.

On Tuesday 18 December from 6.00 to 7.30pm at City Gallery Wellington, Te Ngākau Civic Square, Maitreyabandhu from the London Buddhist Centre will be in conversation with Wellington poets Jenny Bornholdt and Bill Manhire about their life and work, New Zealand, and the purpose of poetry. All welcome, with a koha entry to help cover venue costs, and books for sale through Vic Books.

From Tuesday 18 to Thursday 20 December, the Wellington Sustainability Trust at 2 Forresters Lane will be running four fun workshops for children aged five to 12, giving them skills they can use over the summer. On Tuesday from 10.00am to 12.00pm it’s Make a Pallet Christmas Tree. Wednesday 10.00am to 12.00pm is Make Berry Jam and Beeswax Wraps, with Make a Pizza Pot Plants in the afternoon (2.30 to 4.30pm). Thursday is Bake Your Own Fair Trade Treats (chocolate bark; banana bliss balls) from 10.00am to 12.00pm. Cost is $20 per child per session (covering all ingredients and materials); more details here.

The 55th Room at the Inn will be held on Christmas Day, providing a meal, entertainment and gifts to those who may be isolated or lonely. The lunch takes place at Aro Valley Community Centre Hall, 48 Aro Street, from 12.30pm on 25 December. Meals are also delivered to people’s homes. Volunteers are needed for helping with the event – phone (04) 499 3240 to find out more.

The Newtown Collective are putting on another Christmas Day Picnic at Carrara Park, Newtown. The focus of the event is to ensure those who are isolated or in need have an opportunity to celebrate Christmas. It’s a free, fun-filled day, and the Newtown Collective is looking for volunteers on 24 December from 4.00pm to prep food and setup, as well as volunteers to serve lunch on 25 December. Do good on Christmas Day – email to find out more.

Wellington’s free family celebration of the end of 2018, is the New Year’s Eve event at Whairepo Lagoon, Frank Kitts Park, from 8.00pm through to the midnight countdown.