The Small Things

Tessa Gee looks forward to family-friendly treats, Chorlton-style. Chocolate, chipolatas and Christmas cheer. 

As the winter chill draws in, family life in Chorlton becomes a cosy routine of festive preparations and drinking hot chocolate. There’s a whole calendar of community traditions that unfold at this time of year, so here’s our rundown of the best places to spot Santa, stroke a reindeer and meet up with friends and family.

Treating the kids to the best hot chocolate they will ever taste is an activity in itself. Our first winter tradition involves a pit stop at Cocoa Tree for a decadent treat. Rich, melted chocolate drops, served with a choccie frog on the side, make this a moment to remember – and will help encourage compliance when you’re buzzing round the shops!

Our Kid will be holding a magical storytelling session of The Gruffalo’s Child on Saturday 26 November in partnership with Adventure Babies. If you’re planning on meeting up with other families, book in for Christmas Tea and experience a new, festive take on afternoon tea. Every child gets a gift worth £5 and you can fill up on treats such as Ginger and Guiness Cupcakes, Viennoise Mince Pies,seasonal sarnies and mugs of chipolata sausages.

The annual Beech Road Lantern Parade and Christmas Lights Switch On (24 November) is well worth stretching bedtime for. Families congregate at the park waiting for Santa and his sleigh to lead a procession down Beech Road and onto the Green. Bar owners set up kerbside to sell mulled goodness to passers-by. The whole atmosphere is quite enchanting as the community walks together in celebration of the start of the festive season.

St Clements Church is one of Santa’s favourite hangouts at this time of year. He pays the Oranges & Lemons playgroup a special visit mid December, distributing toys to all in attendance. You may also spot him in a cosy nook at their winter fair; another sweet occasion with cake sale, bric-a-brac bargains and kids activities.

Save some seasonal spirit for the highlight of Chorlton’s advent calendar, the Winter Solstice (Saturday 17 December from 2pm) at the Horse & Jockey and on Chorlton Green. It’s one of the twinkliest gatherings for families. Father Christmas is in residence (of course), but he’s brought along real-life, stroke-friendly reindeers, making for a magical opportunity to bring the Christmas spirit to life.

Sip some warming mulled wine, buy some last-minute treats from the Winter markets and enjoy the bustling merriment of our marvellous corner of Manchester.And remember, keep it Chorlton.

Tess is co-owner of Our Kid