Head for these galleries to find Christmas presents made in the Valleys by talented local artists and makers:
Y Galeri, Caerphilly sells exclusive and handcrafted contemporary art, jewellery, ceramics, glass, wood and textiles from talented Welsh makers.
Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Cwmbran sells the very best in contemporary craft from Wales.
Workers Gallery, Ynyshir, Rhondda. A gallery with heart, set up in the old library in Ynyshir to display work by local professional artists and amateurs. Open Thursday - Sat 10am - 5pm.
Make your own presents
Make a traditional welsh agricultural basket, called a Cyntell, from locally grown willow at Hatton Willow near Caerphilly. For an extra special present fill it with tasty treats and favourite tipples from the Valleys - Penderyn Whisky, Rhymney Beer, Hallet’s Cider, Blaenavon Cheese and Caerphilly Chocolates.
An alternative Christmas in the Valleys
Elfsteddfod - It’s not an Eisteddfod it’s an Elf-steddfod! Don your elf hat, come dressed in red or green and join this annual festive event in Bridgend. It may well be the largest gathering of elves in the world!
Christmas Pudding Racing - Not how quickly or how much Christmas pudding you can eat, but how fast you can run the Merthyr Mawr Christmas Pudding Race. This Christmas tradition draws runners from far and wide to compete in a race up some of Europe’s tallest sand dunes at Merthyr Mawr.
Meet Father Christmas - Underground at Rhondda Heritage Park, on a steam train at Blaenavon Heritage Railway and Brecon Mountain Railway or have a medieval Christmas experience at Caerphilly Castle.
What’s on December: Alternative Christmas Events!
10th December - Merthyr Mawr Christmas Pudding Race
Christmas Day - Christmas Swim Porthcawl Beach
Boxing Day - Festive Swim at The Lido in Pontypridd
31st December - Nos Galan Races in Mountain Ash
A horse figure decorated with ribbons and bells, known as the Mari Lwyd (gray mare), is at the heart of this seasonal tradition. Going from door-to-door the Mari Lwyd and its followers would sing and take part in a battle of rhyming insults before being invited into the house for refreshments. Llangynwyd is one of the few places it still takes place.
1st January: Mari Llwd tradition Llangynwyd, near Maesteg