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Counting down the days: events in December

With just 25 days (including today) to Christmas, there is no shortage of things to do (or be done). So in the spirit of giving, here’s a list (that will be updated daily) of events that are free entry or in the spirit of Christmas that you may be able to include in your schedule. And don’t forget that there are more event options in the What’s On, Active/To Do, and Community sections of The Wellington App, so check them out as well.

Families are invited to participate at the Christmas on the Green annual event on the afternoon of Saturday 1 December at Hataitai Bowling Club, 157 Hataitai Road. As well as Christmas on the Green, a market will run from 11.00am to 3.00pm with lots of stalls, a coffee cart, bouncy castle, games for the children, raffles, entertainment and more. Residents, their families, friends and neighbours are invited to join in with a BYO picnic, or else enjoy a sausage sizzle.

Join the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra on Saturday 1 December for a day of free family fun at Te Papa and celebrate this holiday season with a variety of traditional Christmas carols the whole family can enjoy. Conductor Hamish McKeich and presenter Chris Lam Sam will run the NZSO through a performance featuring classics such as Peter & the Wolf (11.00am to 12.00pm in the Wellington Foyer, Level 2), with a singing workshop (1.00 to 2.00pm in Te Marae, Level 4), followed by a Sing-along (carol song-sheets provided) with the Pop-up Carol Choir and NZSO (3.00 to 4.00pm, Wellington Foyer).

Dreaming of a green Christmas? The Sustainability Trust is holding a Green Christmas Market on 1 December at Forresters Lane (off Tory Street)) with over 20 stalls selling ethically made, sustainably-sourced gifts and goodies for your loved ones from 11.00am to 3.00pm.

The Just Christmas shopping event at the Wellington Central Baptist Church, 46 Boulcott Street, in co-operation with Trade Aid empowers workers and their communities, and supports some of the world’s most vulnerable people. As well as providing employment for those who most need it, every product for sale is ethically sourced. The event runs on Saturday 1 December from 10.00am to 2:00pm with hot drinks and snacks for sale, Eftpos and gift wrapping available.

The annual Wellington Christmas Markets are always a buzz. Shoppers not only love the huge variety of uniquely Wellington gifts on offer but know their money is going to support local small businesses. Running from 10.00am to 4.00pm on both Saturdays and Sundays for the four weekends leading up to Christmas at the Wellington Underground Market, Jervois Quay, this is festive fun for the whole family. Shop at over 100 beautiful stalls, and listen to some music while you eat a delicious variety of street food!

The Hopper Home Eco Shop at 11 Hopper Street is officially open (from 10.00am to 6.00pm, Tuesday to Saturday). Kaibosh Wellington’s newest neighbour is full of brilliant eco Christmas prezzie ideas, including the first eco Christmas crackers in New Zealand. In packs of 12, each cracker contains a joke, surprise eco gift and the packaging can be turned into a festive crown.

The Salvation Army Band will be performing some of the world’s most popular Christmas carols to get you in the holiday spirit. Sing along with the band, presented by the dynamic Chris Lam Sam, at Te Papa on Saturday 8 December in the Wellington Foyer on Level 2. There are two performances of free, family fun: from 11.00 to 11.40am, and 1.00 to 1.40pm. Carol song-sheets will be available.

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.

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.

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.