5 festive things to do in December

PUBLISHED: 15:14 05 December 2016 | UPDATED: 15:14 05 December 2016

The Big Skate at The Parade, Watford (Photo: Simon Jacobs)

The Big Skate at The Parade, Watford (Photo: Simon Jacobs)

©under licence to simonjacobs.com +44 (0)7515 359 014

We have picked 5 of the best festive events in Hertfordshire to get you in the Christmas spirit

Simon Cathery with Isabel and Joseph and William the dogSimon Cathery with Isabel and Joseph and William the dog

Run Santa! Run!

There are fewer sights as fun at Christmas than hundreds of Santas (and reindeers) legging it round a park. So walk, jog or run or just go along to watch as Grove Cottage hosts its second annual Santa Dash and Reindeer Run on Saturday December 3. Starting at 10am at Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre, Bishop’s Stortford, reindeer will be running one mile and Santas dashing two or three.

Can’t make that? The following day from 11am there’s a Santa Run at Hatfield House in aid of Isabel Hospice with the Welwyn GC Band and refreshments, while Waterend Barn in St Albans is the starting point for a Jingle bell Jog and Reindeer Run for Rennie Grove Hospice Care.

Every entrant (book a place via the websites) to each of these family events will receive a free set of reindeer antlers and flashing red nose or a Santa suit. Marvellous.

Panto at WylltottsPanto at Wylltotts

Get your skates on

Watford’s outdoor ice rink will welcome skaters from midday on Saturday November 26 until January 15 as the Big Skate – part of the borough council’s Big Events series, returns.

More than 10,000 people took to the ice last year, but more spectacle is promised this time round with the rink equipped with a better viewing area and a bar, while twinkling Christmas trees and fairy lights will help the festive spirit.

Henning Wehn, Alban ArenaHenning Wehn, Alban Arena

Visitors to Van Hage in Great Amwell can also practice their triple salchow - the garden centre will host an ice rink until January 9.

Come All Ye Faithful

A surefire way to get in the Christmas spirit is a carol concert. Even the most Scrooge-like will be singing along in no time. From the smallest parish church to the great nave of St Albans Cathedral there will be a concert near you. See our feature on pXX on the thriving choir scene in the county (perhaps it will inspire you to sign up) as well as a listing of Christmas concerts, with more in The Diary.

Teutonic jolliness

German ‘comedy ambassador’ Henning Wehn, a hit on TV shows Have I Got News For You and 8 out of 10 Cats, takes to the stage at Alban Arena on December 1 with his stand-up show Westphalia is not an Option.

Audiences are promised ‘an evening of Teutonic jolliness at its best’ as Wehn adds an unbiased look at immigration to his list of favourite subjects. Those who remember his previous shows tackling such well-known staples of light entertainment as the British obsession with home ownership and the self-serving nature of most fundraising efforts will know what to expect.

Oh yes it is!

It’s panto season of course – with theatres across the county busy building giant beanstalks, stitching together over-the-top costumes and putting their star casts through manic, often hilarious scripts.

We’ve taken the hard work out of searching for the best by listing Herts’ top shows in both the Christmas 2016 supplement with this issue and in The Diary at the back of the magazine.

If you’ve not been to a panto for ages, make the effort, and take along the family. It’s not The Nutcracker, but it will be nuts, with a quality that is often top-notch. You’re likely to enjoy it as much as the kids do.

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