Well ding dong merrily, it’s that time of year again.
Get ready for bright lights, late night shopping and a festive frenzy which, like it or not, is already in full force.
It’s a season that splits the majority of the populace into two camps: those who batten down the hatches until January, and shift the weekly shop to the early hours of the morning to avoid the consumer crowds; and the hyped up bargain hunters that will scramble tirelessly through swarms of shoppers, from Black Friday until the final shop shuts its doors with a sigh on Christmas eve.
Fortunately, whichever category you fall into, this year December also offers us gifts from the art world which ought to provide the distraction and inspiration that you’ll need to survive the hustle and bustle that lies ahead.
One highlight for December comes in the form of a brand new gallery, The Lotte Inch Gallery, in Bootham.
Once a pop-up gallery on High Petergate, Lotte has moved into premises which formerly housed the tailors CE Seymour, which closed in April after 65 years.
That is next door to the bookshop run by Lotte’s mother Janette Ray.
The space, which launched at the end of November, treats us to two fantastic exhibitions this month.
The first of these, Profile, is an exploration of line, form and colour, examining how the artist has manipulated these features throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. You have until January 13 to check out this engaging exhibition.
The second exhibition that Lottie Inch, the gallery’s curator and namesake, offers us is A Bird In The Hand, which will run from December 1 to January 2.
This festive exhibition features work from two York based artists, Amy Rose Clyfan and Anna Cook.
Cook’s intricate layers of paper cut outs and framed lights, combined with the charming naivety of Clyfan’s paintings, make for an enchanting exhibition that is not to be missed.
York Castle Gallery
Another highlight this month can be found at York Castle Gallery on Castlegate.
Breakthrough artist Ryder will be showcasing a collection of oils and original prints from December 5.
Through the work, the artist invites you into a whimsical and naïve fairy-tale world, with playful recurring details which tempt the viewer to step inside a world as magical and enticing as our most beloved childhood picture books.
Kentmere House Gallery
One of the delights to be discovered in York this month is Little Gems, an exhibition being held at Kentmere House Gallery.
This collection promises an array of artistic styles and themes with just one thing in common: their pocket-sized status.
The appeal of the miniature is universal, and in a world which shouts for our attention this exhibition provides welcome relief in the form of the detailed and the diminutive.
Find it at Kentmere House, 53 Scarcroft Hill any Thursday 6-9pm or weekends 11am – 5pm until December 20.
The Blue Tree Gallery
For the seasonally disenchanted among you, it is recommended that you pay a visit to the winter-themed exhibition at The Blue Tree Gallery in Bootham this month.
At a time of year when the natural is overpowered by bright lights, artificial colour and seemingly endless sparkle, this exhibition will serve to remind us what a real winter wonderland looks like until January 16.
Get crafty this Christmas
If you’ve always fancied having a go at a home-made Christmas then look no further. York has everything you’ll need this year to get your crafty Christmas up and running- with bells on.
Decorate the door in your own style with a special Christmas Wreath Making Workshop at the Kiosk project space on Fossgate. The workshop will be held Sunday, December 6 from 1–5pm. The £35 fee includes materials and festive refreshments.
Of course the decorations don’t stop there. York Castle Museum will be hosting Craft At The Castle, a felt decoration making workshop with tutor Lydia Withers on Saturday. December 5. To book your space for £15, call the York Museums Trust event booking line (below).
For something a little more specialist, book yourself into the Fused Glass Snowflakes workshop, also on Saturday December 5 at the Yorkshire Museum.
For an overall cost of £45 (£35 course fee + £10 materials), you can make the most of this unique opportunity to create your very own cut glass snowflakes.
To create your own traditional Needle Felted Birds, join Vivien Morpeth’s workshop at York Art Gallery on Saturday December 5. For £35 you can learn the skills to make these traditional decorations, which also double up as delightful gifts.
For more information or to book places on any of the workshops held at at York Castle Museum, the Yorkshire Museum or York Art Gallery, call 01904 697979.
Art gallery tour
An event bringing the historic artworks in the York Art Gallery collection to a wider audience will be held on Sunday December 6.
The Incense And Icons Sensory Tour, taking place at 12.30pm-1.30pm, is open to anyone over the age of 16 and is particularly suitable for partially sighted and blind adults.
So however you feel about the coming festivities, there are plenty of other spectacles to enjoy in York this month.
Make the most of what this colourful city has to offer and, as 2015 draws to a close, take every opportunity to admire the work of those who have toiled tirelessly throughout the year to make it a beautiful one.
Oh yes, and Merry Christmas.