The tip of the Christmas tree

24 November 2022

‘Let’s put up the Christmas tree this weekend’ says Angela. ‘No talk about Christmas until December’, scolds Julia. Yes, it’s hit that time of year (‘oh no it hasn’t’ pipes up Julia) when we are having our annual festive ‘debate’ about how soon we can get festive…

Therefore with the decs already up in the town centre (courtesy of Croydon BID) it’s also time (‘although it is still November’ grumbles Julia) to check out some of the local festive events we’ve heard about, coming up…

Centrale Shopping Centre

The folks over at Centrale are delivering free festive fun for the family this season. First up is a free roller rink in Whitgift Square, sponsored by BID who are also providing all day parking for £1 at the multi-story car park at Centrale Shopping Centre, Tamworth Road on Nov 27, 4, 11, 18 Dec.

Step back into the 80s with Roller Skating is for ages 5+ and will be open daily until Christmas Eve. Tickets are free and it’s advised to pre-book online as its first come first served. Book you space here.

Christmas just wouldn’t be complete without Santa’s Grotto so it’s lovely to see this, once again (now in its 13th year), held in Centrale Shopping Centre, located opposite House of Fraser where you’ll be greeted by one of Santa’s Elves. This isn’t just a case of rocking up for a pic with Santa. The Elves have a mission for you to find the letters to special Christmas before meeting the man himself. If you want your littles ones to visit Santa’s Grotto and take part in the mission, you can pre-book online. Again, it’s worth doing so you don’t miss out.

Fairfield Halls

The Fairfield Halls has developed a festive programme with a bit of something for everyone.; There is, of course, a pantomime – oh no there isn’t – yes, yes there is! ‘The further Adventures of Peter Pan – The Return of Captain Hook’ is running from 10 to 31 December. Starring some names you just might know such as Eastenders bad boy Ricky Champ as Captain Hook, Gemma Hunt as Tinker Bell and Channel 5 Milkshake! Presenter David Ribi as Peter Pan.

If that doesn’t set your fairy lights twinkling, then they also have a new version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ on Sunday 18 December from resident company SAVVY with a large inclusive cast of over 90 actors. It’s one night only folks so you’ll need to get in fast for tickets.

A name that caught our eye was none other than Aled Jones who, alongside Russell Watson bring you a one night performance on 12 December. These are two of the world’s greatest classical voices who embark on a huge UK tour this Christmas. It’s great to see Croydon making it onto the tour schedule, so if you want to hear their brand new album live, now’s your chance, right on your doorstep.

Whilst we’re on the subject of classics, London Mozart Players have created a brand new presentation of that Christmas Classic by Handel, ‘Messiah’. Taking place on 18 December. Expect a wonderfully immersive experience with the audience in a ring around the orchestra, allowing you to experience it from all angles.

This is only a highlight of some of the shows in the Christmas schedule. To view the full programme, click here.

Croydon High Christmas fair

Schools around the borough are already in full festive flow (our daughter has been singing her nativity songs for weeks now). A  number of schools have winter fairs, and one that particularly caught our eye was ‘The Winter Wonderland’ presented by Croydon High PTA at Croydon High on 26 November (that’s this Saturday folks). Kids go free and adults are £2. Expect stalls, food, games and mulled wine from 2-6pm with ‘The Glass Slipper’ production taking place at 2.15pm, 3.15pm, 4.15pm and 5.15pm.

Winter Wonderland is at Croydon High School, Old Farleigh Road, Selsdon, Croydon, CR2 8YB

Stanley Arts

We have a double helping of panto in the borough this year – oh yes we do (enough of the panto jokes, Julia’), with Petite Pantos returning to South Norwood from 17 to 27 December to bring us Sleeping Beauty. It’s not just panto, Stanley Arts are hosting though, they have a packed festive schedule including  Santa’s Grotto running from 2 to 24 December (Father Christmas is evidently dividing his time between Central Croydon and South Norwood this year), an Arts Christmas Market on 2 and 3 December, The Nutcracker presented by the Let’s All Dance Ballet Company on 4 December, The Holi-Slay Ball starring 6 incredible drag artists on 10 December, the Christmas Family Frozen Sing-a-long! (Let it goooo, let it gooooooo) on 11 December and a whole lot more (as you’ll see here).

St Mildred’s

We’ve recently discovered St Mildred’s in Addiscombe (after hiring one of their spaces for our daughter’s 5th birthday party), and it turns out they have a very busy calendar of community events. One that particularly takes our fancy is their christmas market on 3 December. Not only is it a great opportunity to start (or finish) your christmas shopping with some local gifts (including Scene in Croydon’s prints, The Cronx brewery’s craft beer, and Kenley-based Soapy Bars’ cosmetics), but there will also be Santa (yes he’s taking a break from Centrale and Stanley Arts), mulled wine (yes!) and donkey rides for the kids – find us at the front of the queue. St Mildred’s even have a dedicated instagram account for their market so keep up to date with the stall holders here.


If you’re looking for a bit of outdoor festive fun, you need trek no further than the north edge of the borough. OK you may need to step over the border to enter Crystal Palace Park but I promise you won’t be disappointed with Lightopia. We went along last December to this mega magical light display which was both immersive and informative with interactive sound installations, projections about the history of Crystal Palace and of course some glowing dinosaurs. If you’re visiting with smaller kids you may need a café break midway as there is a lot of ground to cover. It’s already open, and runs until 2 January.

We’re sure these events are just the tip of the Christmas tree (ha!) So if you know of other local Christmas events we haven’t mentioned, please add them to the comments.

Header image by Max Bovkun, other images courtesy of Croydon BID, Fairfield Halls, and Stanley Arts (Lightopia images by the Croydonist)

Posted by Angela and Julia

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