Welcome to Leeds : Make it Magical This Year

A lot of people are working hard to put smiles on everyone’s faces over the Christmas season. There are so many things to watch, do and enjoy, from light installations to music, family fun and festive art – and the Christmas Market starts on 19 November.

The ‘Dear Leeds’ light installation returns to Briggate and just around the corner, where on Albion Street there are falling snowflakes. Street traders will be selling food, drinks and gifts at the Corn Exchange, on Briggate and at Leeds Station. Then there is Chow Down Winter Village at Temple Arches, offering cocktails, curling lanes and cosiness.

There’s Millennium Square’s ice rink, a big wheel in front of Leeds Gallery, and a carousel on Cookridge Street. The Merrion Centre, the Victoria Quarter and Trinity Leeds are all running interactive activities, with a brand new Christmas trail set to get the kids hunting for the parts of Santa’s sleigh.

You can step into the world of Christmas in My Christmas Home, an art installation created by Found Fiction and brought to the City by LeedsBID. Step through the doors to discover an elderly couple’s bungalow, a packed student house, a homeless shelter and the home of an NHS nurse. It’s on Bond Court, where video projections, interior decor and recorded audio combine to create convincing simulations of festive life in someone else’s home. There’s a Christmas Wish Tree and Christmas card writing, as well as an online repository of stories about the characters from each household.

Chow Down Winter Village

Steve Clarkson, founder of Found Fiction: “We all remember Christmas 2020 – even though it was pretty forgettable – and we’re counting on this Christmas to be better than the last. The big thing about this Christmas is that we should be able to open up our doors and celebrate together – and we’ll never take that for granted again. That’s exactly what we’re emphasising with this installation, by giving people the chance to experience a Christmas that’s completely different to their own. I hope that My Christmas Home will build empathy and connections between different Leeds communities by allowing everyone to share in a multitude of Christmas experiences

Gina Morrison, General Manager of Emmaus Leeds (one of the households featured): “We’re very excited to be taking part in My Christmas Home. We love that the installation will show the diversity of households in Leeds, and highlights that Christmas looks different in every home. Being involved in a large community project such as this can help to raise the confidence and self-esteem of our companions (service users), who are rebuilding their lives after experiencing homelessness.’

You can visit My Christmas Home between Saturday 27 November and Thursday 30 December from 11am until 7pm. Visit the website while the installation is live.

From Friday 26 November until Christmas Eve, Christmas hosts will be around to help visitors enjoy the festive season to the fullest in the City – ready to meet, greet and give directions in key pedestrianised areas. As Leeds builds back better from the pandemic, the hosts are on hand through funding from the Government’s Welcome Back Fund.

Find out more at http://christmas.welcomeleeds.co.uk, which goes live on Friday 19 November – or pick up a map from Leeds Station, Leeds Bus Station or one of the City’s key retailers.

Feature photograph: Chow Down Winter Village.

Adam Kershaw

Adam combines his interest in Leeds with a flair for writing discovered back in school days. He says he'll tackle any topic as long as it's Leeds.

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