Jacqueline shares her festive pick of what’s on this week across NI


Gina’s Santa Cottage is Santa’s very own home in Newry, Co. Down run in aid of the Southern Area Hospice. Owned by the Boyd Family, the cottage was renovated in memory of Gina Boyd who lost her life to cancer in September 2010. Nestled in the sleepy hills of Sheeptown Road, the cottage is run entirely by volunteers and welcomes over 2000 people each Christmas to meet Santa and his helpers. Over the years of operation the cottage has raised over £60,000 for the Hospice through the dedication of the Boyd Family and the Hospice staff and volunteers. Book your visit to meet Santa and have an experience which your family will never forget. Open from 7th to 23rd December.


The Christmas Tree Festival at the First Presbyterian Church Armagh will tell the story of the life of Christ through Christmas trees. The  theme of the event is “Joy to the World”.  Light refreshments will be available throughout.  Proceeds will be divided between Church Organ Restoration Fund and Newry Hospice.  The event opens on Thursday 6th December 2018 at 1.00pm attended by the Lord Mayor and will remain open until 7.00pm. Further opening times are as follows: Friday 7th 12.00 noon to 7.00pm, Saturday 8th 10.00am  to 7.00pm and Sunday 9th 1.00pm to 7.00pm.


Cancer Connect Enniskillen runs until the 9th December. Families will begin their experience at the railway station located at Hollyhill. Once checked in at the ticket booth, you will be greeted by Mrs Claus and her elves who will treat everyone to complimentary mulled wine, hot chocolate, mince pies and cookies. Following some games and fun entertainment you will be invited to board the new Polar Express and travel through the beautiful town of Enniskillen, discovering the festive windows along the route and ending at Santas Grotto at the Buttermarket. Santa will have a special gift for each child and a photographer will be on site in Santa’s grotto to capture the moment.   The Enniskillen Christmas market will be open to the public in The Buttermarket. Following a visit with Santa you are welcome to browse through the market and have a ride on the carousel or enjoy a stroll through the town centre and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Families can avail of an “open return ticket” on the Polar Express returning to your parking area at the railway station at your leisure.


This festive season take the family back in time to experience the magic of a traditional Christmas at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh. Gather around the warmth of the turf fire and enjoy readings from The Night before Christmas, singalong with the Christmas Mummers, taste seasonal treats and meet Santa and Mrs Claus in his workshop. Day and evening tours available from 8th to 16th December.


The Staff of Specialist Joinery Group Maghera invite you to Project Santa 2018 on 8th and 9th December – even bigger and better than before! Over two days Specialist HQ will once again transform into a winter wonderland where Santa will be visiting to ensure that the “MAGIC CHRISTMAS SPRINKLER” has been fixed by the Specialist team!  As with last year’s event all proceeds raised will go directly to the charity legacy initiative’s 10 charities. It’s going to be MAGICAL!


The Award Winning Enchanted Winter Garden returns to Antrim Castle Gardens from  7th to 17th December with an evening of Inclusive Enchantment on Tuesday 18th for children and adults with specific needs.  See the gardens transformed into an Enchanted World! Returning this year is the ‘Antrim Wheel’ – a 35m Ferris Wheel offering breath taking views over Antrim and beyond, just one of the highlights of the dazzling array of attractions. This year there are a number of new attractions, including a Vintage Wave Swinger a Victorian Helter Skelter and an Extended Wonderland Wood.. To book tickets visit enchantedwintergarden.com


Shelter NI Film Festival is back! As part of Homelessness Awareness Week events, Shelter NI in partnership with Belfast Film Festival will be hosting a 3-day film festival. Every day across Northern Ireland 50 families and individuals present as homeless.  You are invited, with your friends,  colleagues and family to help to combat homelessness and poor housing conditions by supporting Shelter NI on the 6th-7th-8th December 2018 at the Bean Bag Cinema, Exchange Place.  Doors at 7.00pm.


For more details on these events and to add your events free go to whatsonni.com. Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at fb.com/www.whatsonni.com for news, competitions and what’s on near you.