Alternative Christmas Events
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It's beginning to look a lot like you haven't made any plans for your work's/friends'/extended family's Christmas do! Oh boy. Well help is at hand courtesy of your secret weapon: the Dojo in your pocket. Here are some alternative ideas for that festive bonanza or low-key gathering that needs organising. Drink responsibly and look after one another, yeah?
1. A riotous show
'Tarantino meets Shameless meets Elf' is the Christmas show we’ve long been waiting for, and is the perfect description for selling this to your gang. This wild take on Cinderella features a fairly unclear plot, but we do know it will be full of live music, karaoke, mayhem, and a touch of magic taking inspo from the traditional British panto. We're forecasting a riotous hoot.
2. Shared embarassment
Turkeys might not vote for Christmas, but karaoke most certainly does. It's karaoke season baby! This pretension-free, good time Dalston joint has private rooms plus a main-stage if you want a captive and drunk audience. They charge £5 per person for a table on Fridays and Saturdays but also put on special party packages with prosecco, Voodoo Rays pizza and bubbly. For big groups, email them.
3. BYOB frolics
Let’s be real, everyone’s activity of choice for the festive season - and the rest of the year - is stuffing your face with delicious food and glugging bevs at a low cost. Enter the BYOB restaurant. King's Cross' Sen Viet is one of our faves - partly because of its proximity to Dojo HQ, partly because the food is fantastic, and partly because they don’t mind us getting a little bit loose and will usually keep a couple drinks in the fridge for us.
4. An atmospheric trip underground
Do your pals need a little sing-along? Your colleagues need a little loosening up? What could bond you more successfully than toasted marshmallows, campfires in the garden and a big ol' cabaret down a shaft? It's just like scouts really, but with more cocktails, street food and grown ups getting their kit off (don't go there).
5. A wholesome exploration
For some wholesome, alcohol-free fun, how about a clue trail by text? HiddenCity are giants in the clue hunt urban explorer sphere - as big in their respective field as Apple, Coca Cola, Nike or Dojo. It's a fun excuse to scamper about the city, as you're forced to look at obscure places and hidden spaces you’d never normally come across and is very easy to organise as all you need is a phone or two.
6. A boogie
Moth Club - short of course for the Memorable Order of Tin Hats - is a wondrously kitsch time warp of a boozer and event space that's just made for a festive boogie and some joyous abandon. Between now and Christmas you'll find 80s nights, Motown specials and an evening of ABBA bangers. A perfect setting for that stolen kiss at midnight with Janice from HR.
7. Get quizzical
Goddamn we like a good quiz, and Christmas is the time of year we feel brave enough to tell anyone who'll listen. The Old Queen's Head's regular Tuesday evening affair is as good as any, featuring rounds like dirty doodles and kazookeoke alongside normal quiz questions. If you want to have some fun but can't be flipped to plan this is a great, cheap shout.
8. Be stuck in a room together
If you've got a small group and like the idea of being trapped in a small room with them, you're eligible for an escape room game. Hint Hunt are one of the OG's of room escaping and have two games to play here, both with a super high attention to detail. Teams are between 3-5 players and tickets between £20-26 but be warned - this could ruin Christmas if you aren't able to actually get out.
9. Go in, the whole way
This Christmas, The Vaults are getting a little Disney, with a Fantasia-inspired immersive spectacle. Take your team on a journey through various rooms, one decked out to look like a prehistoric wasteland, and another like a magical forest full of hidden bars. You might find yourself in the Sorcerer's Lair or (if you're really lucky) you might watch your boss dance with a hippo. Either way it should make for a good boogie.
10. Blow the budget
Champagne, oysters and cruising London's canals - what's more festive than an evening aboard the London Shell Co? This floaty restaurant can be found along the Regent's Canal in Paddington and, unlike a lot of other floating 'experiences' in London, it doesn't have an overly corporate vibe. Book an evening cruise and feast on seared scallops with cauliflower velouté, crab-stuffed sole with glazed brussels sprouts and more.
11. Get your own space
Turns out community spirit and Christmas cheer are made from the same stuff (slightly different blends of sherry, pine nuts and good intentions), and The Skip Garden has got the former in spades. They can put on a four-course feast made with produce from the surrounding soil; you can get some crafts going in the yurt; or just kick it around the fire pits with marshmallows and warm beverages. If it’s wholesome you’re looking for in your Christmas get-together, this be the place.
12. Avoid conversation
These days, if you walk into a nondescript warehouse in East London and don’t find a seasonal wonderland, you’re gonna be pretty taken aback. So venture through the fur coats and moth balls of this Narnia-esque wardrobe, and… BOOM it’s the surprise you’d been expecting - an enchanted, snowy cinema for you to watch all the seasonal classics: we’re talking Elf, we’re talking Home Alone, and we’re of course talking Love Actually. Not the most original programming but come on, Christmas isn't about originality.
Not a bad shout for an Xmas get-together, as long as you can get your shit together early enough and book it.
13. Make a cracker together
Another group whose eyes must light up like Oxford Street at this time of year are London's numerous workshops. And M.Y.O, with spots in Peckham and Borough, have the trump card: a BYOB policy. They have speciality cracker, wreath and decoration workshops alongside their usual classes, meaning you can spruce up that dull front door of yours whilst also strengthening bonds with friends, colleagues and loved ones.