Five non-cheesy things to do this Chrimbo

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From pop-up charity stores to secret bars and a new ‘happiness’ museum, unique ideas for the holiday period


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SHOP: the pop-up store for refugees

Buy any item for a very good cause. Photo: Help Refugees.
The timely charity Help Refugees have opened a space in Soho where people can buy real and necessary items for those affected. Called Choose Love, it’s dotted with products, from emergency blankets to school bags, medical equipment to sturdy shoes. Prices range from a fiver to 500 quid, and there’s even an option to buy the entire store. Daily until 31st Dec. More info. 18 Broadwick Street W1

VISIT: Museum of Happiness

Now open in Camden. Photo: MOH
This new Camden arrival is all about helping people discover and explore “the science of happiness” in what the organisers say is a relaxed, welcoming environment. There’s an astroturf lawn for indoor picnics, a dedicated nap-and-meditation room carpeted with cushions – and an adult ball pit planned for the new year. Workshops include sessions on everything from ukulele-playing to ‘mindful’ photography. More info, 220 Arlington Rd NW1

BOOZE: Kerb Counter

Cosy secret haven in the middle of the market. Photo: Kerb
Unbelievably this is the streetfood pioneers’ first ever bricks-and-mortar site, tucked away in the middle of Camden Market, where the old Lantana café used to be. The premise is you can grab lunch from a Kerb stall and bring it inside to eat with a local beer, posh cocktail, wine or coffee during the day. Or simply pop in for a drink as you would any bar. There are also “trader takeovers” every Wed to Sat evening. Open daily till 11pm (Sun-Mon till 7pm). More info. Kerb Counter, 5 Middle Yard, Camden Market NW1

PARTY: Get Twisted

A different kinda night at the Forum. Photo: PR
Want to yelp in the new year in a surreal way? Twisted Circus boasts “daring” acts and circus-themed performers, from aerialists and synchronised swinging to daredevils and knife-swallowing. Music’s a party-shaped hot mess of house, hip hop, old skool and club classics. Tickets here. 31st Dec (9pm-4am). The Forum, 9-17 Highgate Rd NW5


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VOLUNTEER: North London Cares

A Singalong last Xmas on the Cally Road. Photo: NLC
This long-running Kentish Town-based community network involves young professionals and older neighbours helping one another to reduce isolation and loneliness, improve confidence, and cross generational or cultural divides. Over the festive season their work is especially important, and they’ve asked anyone who can volunteer or contribute to consider doing so. Find out more here.

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