Preview: The Hunt for Red December

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” 
 Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

For the New Year's party listing, please scroll down.

If you believe that the mid-winter holidays are about sharing, relaxing and hanging with friends and family, you may be feeling a bit like a Cindy Lou Who in a world full of Grinches right now.  Every other news broadcast seem to be tracking pre-Christmas sales like they're the pulse of an ailing patient, and the unseasonably warm streets have emptied of people, while the artificially-lit sweat shops of Ku'damm et al are full of shoppers grimly chomping up deals like pie-eating contestants about to explode.  Not caring about money and, well, stuff at this time of year almost feels like sacrilege, and wanting to share for sharing's sake feels a little bit naive.  But if you're in the mood to metaphorically join hands around the Whoville Christmas tree and revel in Berlin's community spirit, then here are a couple of events for you...

The Up-cycling collective Trial & Error will hold the last of its Christmas "solidarity brunches" this Sunday, December 22.  The Trial & Error space doubles as a swap shop, so you also can bring all the inappropriate gifts that have been lurking in your closet like ghosts of Christmas Past and swap them for something that you, or a friend, can use in the future.  

 Trial & Error urgently need donations so any money spent at this event will be helping to pay their rent.  As well as reusing old gifts, you can also give them a gift that keeps on giving, and swapping, into the New Year. The place is open from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. and entry is by donation. 
Trial and Error, Mareschstrasse 10.  Nearest train station Sonnenallee.

If you’re stuck alone in Berlin on December 24th - the day when Germans celebrate Christmas - then there's no need to look on the dark side of life.  You can head to the Sama Café in Friedrichshain instead, where The Life of Brian will be screened in English.  There will be a late veggie dinner served, again for a donation.  
Sama Cafe, Samariterstrasse 32, nearest train station Samariterstrasse. Starts 8:00 p.m. Free entry.  

New Year’s Eve Listings
There aren't many truly alternative listings for the 31st in Berlin... yet, but stay tuned to this blog's Facebook page for late announcements.  The parties listed below seem like they will maximize Berlin’s quirky aesthetic to the hilt anyway, making them pretty safe bets for anybody who wants to sample the city’s party vibe without a lot of guess work.

Kreuzberg's Mano Café will ‘go techno’ for the night on the 31st.  Beware: that doesn't mean you can expect to be dancing in a smoke-filled chasm with light shows and a superstar DJ at the helm.  Mano is a defiantly pre-party bar where cosy, cushioned booths outnumber DJ booths by a factor of ten to none... where the warm, accepting glow comes courtesy of a Pils, rather than pills. The prevalence of English and Spanish speakers at this bar makes it one of the best unofficial expat hangouts I can think of, though, and it's managed to retain its ‘authentic  Berlin style’ regardless.  

What you get: Free entry, free Sekt at midnight, free friendliness and free tech house tunes.

Cafe Mano, Skalitzer Straße 46A, nearest train Gorlitzer Bahnhof.

Speaking of pills, someone must have slipped a few in the water supply at Urban Spree, because their Silvester party sounds more optimistic than Cindy Lou Who on lithium.  The party's four floors comprise the Happy House room, the Happy Psych dungeon, the Happy Afrobeats gallery and Happy Up - for those who wanna take their happiness that little bit higher.  At 12 Euros in it’s a relative bargain, too.  

What you get: pyrotechnics, pigs and quite possibly a piano.

Urban Spree, next to Warschauer Strasse train station near the corner of Revaler Strasse. 

Club Der Visionaere has been ultra crowded in recent years but its new location aboard the Hoppetosse ship floats the boats of a few more punters than the old venue did.  The deceptively spacious boat usually bobs to the sleepy rhythm of the river Spree but with all those shuffling hipsters on board it will probably rock a little bit harder than usual this New Year's.  

What to expect: food and drink, disco house, tech house, some chillout and an international, all English-speaking crowd. Ticket is a bit pricey at 20 Euros but the party keeps going for three nights, so no getting turfed out.

CDV @ Hoppetosse, Eichenstrasse 4.  Nearest train Treptower Park / Schlesisches Tor. 

Delikat is doing their Happy New Cologne party again this year and I'm guessing it will be in Neukolln once more (Kolln/Cologne being the German word for 'town').  One of this blog's readers went last year, and here's what he had to say about it: 

"The people were a bit different than those at the underground party we'd been to before that. More mainstream, more make-up and "cool" guys. The music in the main room was soft techno, not really house, nearly disco-like. In the smaller room the music was better (harder). But after a while and a nice cold beer we all had fun. There was also a sort of balcony where you could watch the crowd. We left around 12."  
To get the entrance password and advance tickets for the party, sign up for the organizers' newsletter here. Entry starts at 10 Euros.

What to expect: See above!

Party details via newsletter. 

Have a great break and remember: being a bit naive is good at times.  Because, as Dr. Seuss puts it, "Adults are just obsolete children."


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