Cardiff has become a shopping hub thanks to the whopping St Davids shopping centre, where you can find all of the high street brands you desire, along with a great selection of restaurants which have really helped Cardiff to become more family friendly. One of the delights of shopping in Cardiff however, is if you leave St Davids and cross the bustling Hayes, you end up in the wonderful Victorian arcades, crammed full of more individual shops, such as Spillers Records (the oldest record shop in the world!). The Arcades are just magical with all of the Christmas decorations, and will help you feel a bit more of that Christmas spirit.
A little further up The Hayes, you'll find the Christmas market, bustling with little log cabins selling everything from craft beers, Welshcakes, jewellery and all sorts of other handmade items.
In front of the wonderfully majestic civic buildings, Winter Wonderland each year offers a fun fair with giant ferris wheel, ice-skating rink, and a selection of food and drink stalls. I have only been to the ice rink once myself, because I can't skate!
Shrek is on at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay until January 10th. If panto is more your thing, then the New Theatre in the city centre is putting on a production of 'Aladdin' until January 17th.
Yet more festive stalls can be found on selected days in the run up to Christmas, so you can do a spot of shopping before you see Shrek. The Bay now has a huge selection of restaurants, bars, little shops and galleries, so it is very easy to while away a day here. The Norwegian Church overlooks the bay, and hosts regular gift markets, has a gallery upstairs, and always puts on lots of musical events - it's a wonderfully intimate setting for a carol concert.
This is actually a series of parks, including a recreation ground, pleasure garden, rose garden, wild garden and lake, and they are a treat to visit in every season. I personally prefer when it's especially cold, as you have them practically to yourself. There's an eerie, icy beauty to the stillness of the lake. If you get too chilled, either head into the lakeside cafe for a hot chocolate, or step into the blissfully warm glasshouse for a brief tropical respite. The larger park is flanked by some stunning Victorian homes, so you can do some fantasy house shopping on your stroll around the lake.
I used to take a Christmas shopping trip to Bath each year, but these days I honestly don't feel the need to travel any further than Cardiff.
What's your favourite city for getting into the festive spirit?