Christmas comes early in the North York Moors

Christmas comes but once a year – except at The Moors National Park Centre atDanby, where three weekends in November are given over to getting in to the Christmas spirit.

Highlight of the festive calendar is the annual Christmas Craft Fair, to be held this year on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th November. Inside the Moors Centre you’ll find a wide range of art and craft stalls selling anything from handmade ceramics and hand-carved walking sticks to artisan-baked Christmas cakes or soap scented withYorkshirelavender. Outside, there’s traditional music from a vintage fairground organ, pony-trap rides (on the Sunday), various children’s craft activities and the all-important visit from You Know Who.

There are around 35 artists and crafters taking part in the fair, all locally based and with an admirable emphasis on using locally sourced or sustainable products. Many of the exhibitors are also part of the Brigantia art, craft and design group, who stage their own “Arty Crafty Christmas” show on the two preceding weekends (3rd and 4th, and 10th and 11th November), also at the Moors Centre. This is another great opportunity to buy quality art and crafts direct from the artists themselves.

Kicking off the seasonal season, meanwhile, is the chance for children to design and print their own wrapping paper and greetings cards. Bring them along to the Moors Centre during the afternoon on Friday November 2 and they’ll also be shown how to make a Christmas garland from willow, holly, ivy and other natural materials.

No excuses then this year – Christmas presents, wrapping, cards, decorations and cake, all sorted by the end of November, courtesy of the North York Moors National Park Authority and its wonderful artists and craftspeople.

Christmas Craft Fair, at the Moors National Park Centre, Danby, YO21 2NB, on November 17 and 18, 2012. The centre is open from 10.30am to 4.30pm and admission is free, with a small charge for pony trap rides and activities. Brigantia’s Arty Crafty Christmas runs over the weekends of 3 and 4, and 10 and 11 November – admission free. Getting Ready for Christmas children’s activity is on Friday November 2 from 2pm to 4.30pm ­– cost is £5 per child, bookings essential on 01439 772738. For more details about events at the North York Moors National Park, see www.northyorkmoors.org.uk.

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