UNTIL DECEMBER 5
CHRISTMAS PAST AND PRESENT
Celebrate popular Christmas traditions at the Museum of Welsh Life, St Fagan's, Cardiff. Details: 01222 573500.
UNTIL DECEMBER 12
York's Archaeological Research Centre is staging a cross-curricular exploration of light, shadow and colour incorporating three religious winter festivals (Advent, Diwali and Hanukkah). Hands-on science experiments include an "infinity tunnel", mirrors, shadow puppets, fibre optics and a "laser-amazer". School groups should allow 90 minutes for a visit. Bookings: 01904 543402. Details: 01904 643211.
UNTIL DECEMBER 21
YORK EARLY MUSIC CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
The ancient Sheriff's Riding will march with pike men and musicians around the walls of the city to blow in Christmas and a historic 15th-century feast will be held for the Archbishop of York at the medieval Merchant Adventurers' Hall. Details of these and other events from: 01904 658338.
UNTIL DECEMBER 26
WHEN SANTA GOT STUCKUP THE CHIMNEY!
It's Christmas Eve, the family is fast asleep and downstairs the toys are preparing for a wedding. Disasters follow, capped by one which may mean Christmas is cancelled forever. This all-original musical adventure is taking place at The Castle in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. Details: 01933 270007.
UNTIL DECEMBER 31
A hilarious show at Paisley Arts Centre, adapted and directed by David Wallace, aka "Paisley's favourite dame". Details: 0141 887 1010.
SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS UNTIL JANUARY 3
THE STAR DOME
During a festive 30-minute journey through the night sky at Eureka! (the children's museum in Halifax), visitors can explore seasonal star patterns, explode a few astrological myths and listen to star stories from Greek mythology. The dome is not available on December 12 or 13. Details: 01422 330012.
UNTIL JANUARY 9
THE DEMON HEADMASTER
THE ANIMALS OF FARTHING WOOD
Two productions presented by Pleasance Theatre, Carpenter's Mews, North Road, London N7. The first is a new family musical based on the book by Gillian Cross and the BBC series. The second, a magical play for nature-lovers aged four upwards, is also based on a television and video series. Details: 0171 609 1800.
UNTIL JANUARY 9
A new telling of an old story, overseen by the spirit of the novelist Angela Carter, stars a Cinderella who has lived for 100 years in the scenery store of the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London W6. Extraordinary illusions, magic, fantastic puppets, glittering design and wicked black humour are promised. Details: 0181 741 2311.
UNTIL JANUARY 16
HANSEL AND GRETEL
Abandoned and lost in the magical forest and using their wits to foil the wicked witch, circus performers Hansel and Gretel are hiding a terrible secret. This version of the Brothers Grimm fairytale by children's playwright, Stuart Paterson, is being presented by the Unicorn Theatre for Children at the Arts Theatre, 67 Great Newport Street, London WC2. Details: 0171 836 33342132.
UNTIL JANUARY 17
SOUTH BANK CHRISTMAS
A packed programme at the South Bank Centre, London SE1, includes carol concerts and galas, a Rimsky-Korsakov festival, Puccini's Madama Butterfly with the English Festival Opera, and Cool Yule, "the perfect antidote to Christmas shows". The Royal Ballet is performing Cinderella, La Fille Mal Gardee and Romeo and Juliet. Details: 0171 960 4242.
UNTIL JANUARY 22
THE CINDER GIRL
Join storytellers gathered in a Bedouin tent in the middle of the desert for this adaptation by the Orchard Theatre Company of an earlier Arabian version of Cinderella. It is touring Plymouth, Frome, Bideford, Wimborne, Falmouth and Minehead. Details: 01271 373356; e-mail: OrchardTheatre@compuserve.com UNTIL JANUARY 31
LITTLE ANGEL THEATRE
"The home of British puppetry" is presenting The Secret Garden, The Selkie Bride (about mysterious sea creatures who live off the coasts of Ireland and Scotland and can become human) and The Elves and the Shoemaker in repertory at 14 Dagmar Passage, Cross Street, London N1. Details: 0171 226 1787.
UNTIL FEBRUARY 6
PASS THE PARCEL
Under-fives can go on a parcel-filled treasure hunt with Oily Cart and watch Penny discover the secret of a mysterious package she is delivering to her Mum. The show features a circus of puppets, dancing string, live music and a marvellous Post Office and reaches the Theatr Clwyd, Mold, on December 7-28. It is also at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London W6 on January 16 and the South Bank Centre, London SE1 on February 6. Details: 0181 672 6329.
CHRISTMAS WITH THE NATIONAL TRUST
Seasonal events for children include: present-making workshops at Wicken Fen, near Ely in Cambridgeshire; a family day at Dunwich Heath, Suffolk, with a brass band, Christmas trail and craft activities; and Father Christmas weekends at Aberdulais Falls, Wales. The Children Welcome pack is available from 0181 315 1111 or visit Trusty the Hedgehog's Website at www.trusty.org The Trust has also organised a week of Christmas walks (supported by Barclays) hosted by famous venues such as the George Inn in Southwark, London SE1. For details send a 30p stamp to the NT at: 36 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1.
DECEMBER 11-JANUARY 30
Chris Harris, the acclaimed panto dame, plays the appallingly vain woman who sells her best feathered friend so she can wallow in the Wonderful Waterfall of Youth and Beauty, at Bristol Old Vic. Details: 0117 987 7877.
DECEMBER 12-JANUARY 31
UNTIL JANUARY 24
A TOY BOX OF TREASURES
All that's needed to get children salivating can be found at Buckinghamshire County Museum in Aylesbury. The first exhibition features contemporary artwork inspired by and made from chocolate; the second features old, new, big and small toys made of metal and wood. Special events include: free entry to the museum and the Roald Dahl children's gallery, with free mulled wine for the grown-ups and goodie bags for children, December 10 (5-8pm); and "An introduction to chocolate" tasting session, December 12 (2.30-3.30pm) with face-painting, card-making and quizzes. Pounds 10 admission (includes a Pounds 5 goodie bag of fine chocolate). Details: 01296 331441.
SEARCH FOR SANTA
Children can visit Father Christmas's grotto, exchange e-mails with him and learn about computing and the Internet at the same time at:www.fatherchristmas.net