An eighteenth-century, Neapolitan Crèche generously loaned from the Isidro Brunete collection is on display in the museum’s main hall until 7 January. The Crèche was assembled from the 1970s onwards and is particularly notable for the figures of the angels, the key group of the Virgin, the Christ Child and Joseph, the Magi and the elaborate backdrop that illustrates daily life at the time it was made: street sellers, musicians, travellers, passers-by, shoppers, innkeepers and figures representing a wide range of trades and crafts, all of whom bring a lively, expressive element to the episode of the Birth of Christ.

In addition, on 23 and 26 December the Guerrero Choir Ensemble will be performing a selection of carols around the Crèche at 11.30am and 1pm. These will include part of La bomba by Mateo Flecha the Elder; A un niño llorando el yelo by Francisco Guerrero, Tu scendi dalle stelle by Alfonso Maria di Liguori; Gustav Holst’s arrangement of Lullay my Liking; El Nacimiento by Ariel Ramírez with arrangements by Dante Andreo; and O magnum mysterium by Nicholas White.

During the Christmas period the museum will be open during its normal times for visiting both the Permanent Collection and the exhibitions Picasso/Lautrec and Art Lesson: Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 7pm with the exhibitions open until 9pm on Saturdays, except on 24 and 31 December when the museum will close at 3pm, and 25 December and 1 January when it will be closed.

Once again this year the Education Department is organising special family activities during the school holidays. This year they focus around the projects Art Lesson: Look, feel, change, aimed at families with children aged 3 to 6; and Possible, impossible, which is open to families with children aged 7 to 12 and to young people and adults.

Finally, as in previous years everyone is welcome to celebrate the Christmas holidays with a selection of digital Christmas cards available on our website.