The UK’s craft industry is growing, with the Telegraph reporting that it is the fastest-developing component of Britain’s creative sector. With more people looking for a way to reduce screen time and reconnect with a hands-on activity, crafting is definitely having a moment and never was there a more perfect time to embrace it than Christmas. Choosing a Christmas activitiy doesn't have to be stressful, so in a bid to avoid crushing crowds and rage-inducing queues, why not trade ice skating and Christmas markets for a 'crafternoon' instead.
‘For the ultimate escape from the daily grind, a craft workshop for your team couldn’t be better,’ says craft expert Esme Clemo. ‘It’s a chance to develop new and exciting skills while bonding through a shared experience.’
Happily, there’s a ‘best of both’ option for those of us who enjoy a tipple come Christmas. ‘Scared of breaking the norm with an evening of drinking? There are loads of workshops that combine both, like painting over Prosecco,’ says Esme.
And indeed there are. Below is our pick of the best Christmas activities to take your team (or your friends or family) to this year. Prosecco is optional.
Modern calligraphy with Alice Gabb
What: Produce the kind of stylish handwriting your old headmistress would have been proud of with an afternoon of Alice’s calligraphy magic.
What’s included? Alice can come to you and will provide everything you need for her two-hour introduction to calligraphy. For an additional £10 per person, Alice is happy to provide take-home kits that include a pen holder, nib, guide sheets, ink, water jar and tote bag per person.
Price: From £30 per person
More info: alicegabb.com
Doughnut making with Bread Ahead
What: Who wouldn’t want to learn how to make doughnuts? An essential life skill for all.
What’s included? Bread Ahead’s workshops can be block-booked for corporate groups and includes a three-hour masterclass in making doughnut magic. Each participant will take home their own custard-filled creations at the end of the day. Bread making is also available.
Price: From £90 per person
More info: breadahead.com
Cracker making with The Crafty Hen
What: Here’s an activity that’s made so simple by The Crafty Hen gang that you can definitely sip on a drink or two while doing it: a win-win.
What’s included? A craft leader will come to you and provide all the materials you’ll need to make a set of crackers per person. Classes usually last two and a half hours and materials can be themed to your branding or event; you need to supply your own gifts.
Price: From £30 per person
More info: thecraftyhen.co.uk
Wreath-making with Sipsmith
What: If crafting with cocktails sounds right up your street, you’ve found nirvana.
What’s included: Last year Sipsmith opened a dedicated Christmas shop with a rolling timetable of craft classes. It’s planning on doing something similar this year. Previously wreath-making included two cocktails and a gin botanicals-inspired wreath.
Price: £75 per person (2018)
More info: sipsmith.com
Design your own luxury Christmas candle with London Craft Club
What: Create your own Christmassy scent to infuse into a candle that can be taken and enjoyed in the comfort of your own home, or gifted.
What’s included? Two hours in the London Craft Club studio where you’ll learn all about how to make scents from an Apothecary expert before infusing them into soya candle wax. While the candles set, you can make a second scent which will be turned into a perfume oil to take home along with your candle and instructions on how to make more candles at home. A glass of fizz is of course included too.
More info: londoncraftclub.co.uk
What: Get green fingered and make your very own little slice of paradise in a bottle at one of London Terrariums workshops.
What’s included? Learn how to make your own unique ecosystem in a bottle. The afternoon begins with a brief look into the history and science of what goes into building a terrarium before you get a chance to build your own. You’ll be supplied with a jar, all the plants and pebbles and a care guide so you can look after your little creation properly.
Price: From £60
More info: londonterrariums.com
Christmas Cricut Workshop: Make a Garland, Tags & Cards
What: Use a Cricut machine to make beautiful cards and tags to give your Christmas wrapping an extra little something this year.
What’s included? Whether you are a present wrapping expert or just want to make the presents under the Christmas tree look extra special this year, this workshop will help you on your way to making all the embellishments you’ll need this Christmas. You’ll be given all the material you need, all you have to do is bring a phone or iPad and download a special app. Think of all the money you’ll save on wrapping extras. And anyone who receives one of your homemade tags is bound to be impressed.
More info: themakery.co.uk
Linocut Christmas Card Workshop with The National Trust
What: Make your own Christmas cards using the special linocut technique.
What’s included? All the tools needed will be provided but if you have a specific pattern in mind you can bring that along to carve into your lino block. Once you’ve designed a pattern, you can transfer it on to wrapping paper or Christmas cards to take home and use throughout the season.
More info: nationaltrust.org.uk
Make your own Christmas Jumper and Stocking with M.Y.O
What: This one is pretty self-explanatory, but we have to mention that it’s BYOB.
What’s included? All you have to do is bring your own jumper (make sure it’s plain) and you’ll be shown how to decorate your jumper with vinyl, sequins and ribbon. You’ll be the envy of everyone in the office at your next Christmas jumper day. You’ll also be able to make a stocking which can be gifted or kept and filled with prezzies on Christmas Eve
More info: eventbrite.co.uk
DIY Christmas activity crafting
For a low-key crafting experience host your own workshop in the office or at home before you head out for your party or tuck into Christmas dinner. Here are a few of our favourite kits you can pre-order and do yourself, no experts necessary.
Shadows and light wall hanging
What: Made from textile offcuts this easy macrame kit should take a maximum of four hours to make and helps to reduce the fabric that ends up in landfill. This simple aesthetic is super in at the moment too.
What’s Included? You’ll get all the yarn, a pattern, the metal rings and a special made-by-me label. Once completed, it will look great hanging around the house or office, but works equally as great for a Christmas gift.
Price: From £22.00
More info: woolandthegang.com
Brewdog Everyday IPA Pack
What: Crafting doesn’t have to be cutesy, this home brewing kit produces 1 gallon of beer, and would make the perfect pre-party activity – so that you can drink the spoils on the big night.
What’s included: All the ingredients and most of the beer brewing equipment you will need are in this kit, from the hops to the glass fermenter. All you need to add is two large pots, a mesh strainer, funnel and some snazzy bottles to put the brew in. At 6.8% ABV this beer packs a punch.
More info: souschef.co.uk
Kitchen Provisions Introductory Gin Kit
What: Start the party properly with a team exercise in making the perfect gin. We don’t anticipate there will be any complaints.
What’s included? You’ll get a special Kitchen Provisions botanical blend, a 750ml empty gin bottle, juniper berries - all the equipment needed to make your own homemade blend. All you need to add is 750ml of vodka and you’ll be ready to make some gin. Opt for the botanical boost pack if you want to play with some more flavours. Price: From £26
More info: kitchenprovisions.co.uk
Silver Ring Workshop with The Workbench
What: Make you or your loved ones a bespoke piece of jewellery from scratch.
What’s included? Everyone likes a homemade gift now and again don’t they? So why not embrace your inner silversmith and make your friends and family stocking fillers in the form of silver rings. You’ll be given everything you need to make a bespoke ring. With a number of classes run across the season starting, conveniently after work, head down to Old Spitalfields Market and get your craft on. If human interaction after working hours isn’t for you, they sell at home kits too.
Price: From £79
More info: theworkbenchlondon.com
Need some more Christmas party inspo? Take a look at our Christmas party ideas page.