Watch Our W Fitness Charity Christmas Dance & Check Out Ideas For Things To Do And Places To Go Over The Festive Period
It’s that time of year again! The W Fitness Charity Christmas Dance!
Firstly, we’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped with, danced in and donated to our charity Christmas dance. We had a fantastic time and raised an AMAZING £118.25 for a charity that is very close to our hearts, The Recovery Shoebox Project. This charity was started by Megan, a friend of Hannah, who suffered with her mental health. She began making shoebox parcels, free of charge, to send out to young people who were struggling with their mental health. These include items to help people when coping feels difficult, such as things to distract, pamper, soothe, and motivate. Megan liked to tailor the boxes to people’s specific struggles and needs, and included a personal message in every box. Sadly, Megan lost her life in February 2019, but her family continue to tirelessly produce and distribute the shoeboxes to as many people as possible.
What’s on in my local area over Christmas?
If you’re looking for places to go and things to do over the festive period, take a look at our ‘What’s on in my local area over Christmas’ guide below.
Places to visit include:
- Aladdin at The Carriageworks. Get ready to hop aboard a magic carpet for one of my favourite pantomimes, Aladdin, being shown at the carriageworks until Sunday 9th January 2022.
- Christmas at Mother Shipton’s, Knaresborough. Visit Mother Shipton’s cave where you can see Santa and enjoy a winter woodland walk with festive displays and scenes, as well as visiting the wishing well, museum and gift shop. You can visit up until 24th December 2021.
- Follow the reindeer trail at Kirkstall Abbey. This is a great one for the children. Take a walk around the ruins of the abbey and try to spot the festive reindeer along the way. They are all dressed up and decorated. The trail is free, and the visitor centre is open selling hot drinks and snacks. Spot the reindeer up until 23rd December 2021.
- Christmas at Left Bank, Cardigan Road, Leeds 6. Join in the Free Big Healthy Holiday Christmas Party which will be held on Wednesday 22nd December from 10am until 2pm and includes a free lunch! There will be performances, workshops, food and loads of festive fun! They will also be running free workshops for all the family on Thursday 23rd December from 10am until 3pm. Workshop 1 is ‘Edible Gift Making with Season Well and is 1 hour and Workshop 2 is ‘Textile Decorations with Funky Garms’. There is free hot food for every child who attends and a crafty goodie bag. This is suitable for children aged 5+. To round off the Christmas activities, take your children to a free pancake buffet breakfast/brunch on Christmas Eve from 10am until 12pm. Santa will be there, giving out presents and chatting to all the children who attend, and they can do some festive colouring too.
- Hyde and Seek Festive Screenings. A selection of festive films is being shown at different locations and are ‘pay what you can’ meaning you are free to pay as much or as little as you can afford. You can book tickets via the Hyde Park Picture House:
15th December at 6pm – Home Alone – Leeds University Union
16th December at 5.30pm and 8.20pm – It’s a Wonderful Life – Leeds University Union
18th December at 7pm – Gremlins – Left Bank, Leeds
19th December at 10.30am – The Muppet Christmas Carol – HEART Centre
23rd December at 5pm – Elf – Left Bank, Leeds
- Bolton Abbey Festive Trail. Enjoy the festive trail in the Wintery Strid Wood with large wooden Christmas trees dotted along the path. Each tree has a fun-filled activity which is linked to the trail sheet.
If you’re looking for activities to keep the kids entertained over the festive period, try some of the following ideas:
- Make a snowman/snow castle. Weather permitting, build a snowman or snow castle (use your bucket and spade) and decorate with paints and dyes.
- Reverse Advent Calendar. Get the kids involved with doing a reverse advent calendar. Add an item to a box for each day of Advent and then donate to one of many causes or charities such as Leeds Baby Bank, Vulnerable Citizen Support, Leeds, or one of the many Foodbanks. Get the children to sort through their toys before Santa comes to see what they don’t want anymore and then donate to St. George’s Crypt or a local children’s centre.
- Make Christmas decorations. Children love making things and what better way to entertain them than by making decorations.
Make salt dough decorations to hang on the tree (take a look at our video on how to make them on our Instagram page here). Decorate using acrylic paints, glitter, and sparkles.
Make ice decorations to hang outside. Collect nature items such as leaves, pinecones etc, and place in a muffin tray. Top up with water and place outside (or in the freezer) to freeze. Don’t forget to add string first so that you can hang them up when frozen.
Paperchains are easy to make and can be hung around the house.
Make your own crackers and remember to include jokes, a memory, a challenge, chocolates, a hat and a personal pressie 😊 This is taken from BBC Goodfood. You will need:
- Wrapping paper
- Double-sided sticky tape
- Three cardboard toilet paper rolls (per cracker)
- Cracker snaps
- Tissue paper
- Gifts, hats, jokes etc
How to make:
- First make your paper hats. Draw and cut a template from card – approximately 30cm in length (shorter for children). If making multiple hats, place several sheets of tissue paper on top of each other and carefully cut out using your template. Take two cut out shapes and gently use glue stick to glue the ends together to make your hat.
- To make your cracker place three cardboard rolls close together onto the plain side of your wrapping paper. Put a cracker snap through the tube and secure to the middle roll. Make sure you’ll have enough paper to cover and overlap the cardboard rolls when wrapped.
- Next, cut your paper so it is the same width as the three cardboard rolls. Place three pieces of double-sided tape along one end of the wrapping paper, each piece in line with each cardboard roll. (This should be the side that sticks to the wrapping paper – not the cardboard roll.)
- Roll the wrapping paper over the cardboard rolls to completely cover. Overlap the paper (with the side with the tape on top) and press down to stick the double-sided tape firmly to the paper.
- Gently pull the two cardboard rolls on either end slightly away from the middle. Between one end roll and the middle roll tie a loose knot with your ribbon round the paper and gently tighten to create your cracker end. Remove the end roll and continue to tighten until there is only a small gap when you look down the end of the cracker then tie a bow and cut any excess ribbon.
- Fill your cracker with your hat and chosen goodies and then repeat step five on the still open end of your cracker.
- Make a gingerbread house. A gingerbread house is perfect for an afternoon’s baking. Try this recipe form BBC Goodfood:
For the gingerbread
- 250g unsalted butter
- 200g dark muscovado sugar
- 7 tbsp golden syrup
- 600g plain flour
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 4 tsp ground ginger
- 200g flaked almonds
- 2 egg whites
- 500g icing sugar, plus extra to dust
- 125g mini chocolate fingers
- generous selection of sweets of your choice, choose your own colour theme
- 1 mini chocolate roll or a dipped chocolate flake
- Few edible silver balls
For the house design
GINGERBREAD HOUSE TEMPLATE
- Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger into a large bowl, then stir in the butter mixture to make a stiff dough. If it won’t quite come together, add a tiny splash of water.
- Cut out the template. Put a sheet of baking paper on a work surface and roll about one quarter of the dough to the thickness of two £1 coins. Cut out one of the sections, then slide the gingerbread, still on its baking paper, onto a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, re-rolling the trimmings, until you have two side walls, a front and back wall and two roof panels. Any leftover dough can be cut into Christmas trees, if you like.
- Pick out the most intact flaked almonds and gently poke them into the roof sections, pointy-end first, to look like roof tiles. Bake all the sections for 12 mins or until firm and just a little darker at the edges. Leave to cool for a few minutes to firm up, then trim around the templates again to give clean, sharp edges. Leave to cool completely.
- Put the egg whites in a large bowl, sift in the icing sugar, then stir to make a thick, smooth icing. Spoon into a piping bag with a medium nozzle. Pipe generous snakes of icing along the wall edges, one by one, to join the walls together. Use a small bowl to support the walls from the inside, then allow to dry, ideally for a few hours.
- Once dry, remove the supports and fix the roof panels on. The angle is steep so you may need to hold these on firmly for a few mins until the icing starts to dry. Dry completely, ideally overnight. To decorate, pipe a little icing along the length of 20 mini chocolate fingers and stick these lengthways onto the side walls of the house. Use three, upright, for the door.
- Using the icing, stick sweets around the door and on the front of the house. To make the icicles, start with the nozzle at a 90-degree angle to the roof and squeeze out a pea-sized blob of icing. Keeping the pressure on, pull the nozzle down and then off – the icing will pull away, leaving a pointy trail. Repeat all around the front of the house. Cut the chocolate mini roll or dipped Flake on an angle, then fix with icing to make a chimney. Pipe a little icing around the top. If you’ve made gingerbread trees, decorate these now, too, topping each with a silver ball, if using. Dust the roof with icing sugar for a snowy effect. Lay a winding path of sweets and fix gingerbread trees around and about using blobs of icing. Your gingerbread house will be edible for about a week.
- Watch festive films. Hannah and Jonny are watching a Christmas film every day in December. Get cosy and snuggle up with some of their favourites including:
- Love Actually
- The Grinch
- Home Alone
- Home Alone 2
- Home Sweet Home Alone
- Miracle on 34th Street
- Four Christmasses
- A Bad Mom’s Christmas
- The Santa Clause
- The Santa Clause 2
- Nativity 2(Danger in the Manger)
- Nativity 3 (Dude, Where’s my Donkey)
- The Holiday
- Deck The Halls
- Christmas with the Kranks
- Last Christmas
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
- The Family Stone
- Christmas with The Coopers
- Bad Santa
- And, of course, don’t forget Die Hard, if you count that as a Christmas film 😊
If you still need to get your tree, then head over to one of the following places:
- High Trees Garden Centre, Otley Old Road, Horsforth, LS18 5HZ
- Horsforth PYO, West End Lane, Horsforth
- The Vale, Headingly, Leeds
- Lily’s of Bramhope, 1 The Parade, Breary Lane, Bramhope, LS16 9AF
- None Go Bye Farm, Orley Old Road, Horsforth, LS18 5HZ
**Please check opening times, availability and prices for all events mentioned above**
We hope that we have given you plenty of ideas for things to do over the festive period, and we hope that you enjoyed watching (or even joining in with) our festive dance 😊
Caroline & Hannah xx