Enjoy free films, books, and a roaring (digital) fire this Christmas

Enjoy free films, books, and a roaring (digital) fire this Christmas

I remember Christmas being a magical time as a child when the world was transformed into a white and snowy wonderland, and we overloaded the ageing artificial Christmas tree with decorations that are now older than I am and still in use. Everyone’s experience of Christmas varies, but this midwinter celebration has been held in the Western world for a very long time in one form or another. Whether it is the need to have something to brighten the darkest days of the year, the shortest day of the year in Britain falling just three days before Christmas on 22 December, or just a cluster of coincidences, the winter months host many different celebrations in different cultures.

So, just in case you are left looking around for something to entertain you in the quieter moments over the Christmas holidays, here are some things you might not have realised we have for you to read, watch and enjoy:

Some quality streamed television, theatre and films

There’s nothing more Christmassy than Dicken’s morality tale, A Christmas Carol. Here’s a modern take on this old chestnut for you to stream from the Old Vic through our DigitalTheatre+ collection.

Fancy a dark little one act play pits a philosophy professor against the intelligence services on Christmas Eve? This is a play script, rather than a novel, but it is still very readable.

Being a time when the whole family comes together, there’s a whole host of Christmas television and film entertainment you can catch up on through the Library’s free streaming service, Kanopy. From David Bowie to Citizen Khan, Kanopy has something to please everyone. If you can’t stand Christmas television, there’s just about everything else under the sun on Kanopy for you to escape into instead, from cult classics to indie films, and documentaries to blockbusters, all available for you to stream in high definition, absolutely free as one of our students (or staff).

A few things to read


Starting off with odd things to read, if you are really into Christmas and want to know everything about it (and I mean everything), you will love this entire encyclopedia devoted to everything Christmas. I wanted to draw together a few diverse things about Christmas and these other celebrations from our collections to give you something to read over the holidays.

If that sounds too long, here’s a short history of the traditional Western Christmas: one of the research starters you can find sometimes pops up a the top of the Discovery Service when you run a search. Taken from authoritative encyclopedias, they are useful for getting to grips with a new topic.

There’s also this ebook that tells the strange but true story of the Christmas Truce when the forces of the First World War put down their arms and held a truce over Christmas. Or you could venture further afield with these stories about Christmas in Calcutta.

If science sounds more appealing than foreign travel, this ebook will take you back in time to the original Royal Society Christmas Lectures of Farraday and his contemporaries, who wove spellbinding tales of the nature of reality to captivated audiences.

and fiction

For those interested in a good bit of fiction, exploring the nature of religion, philosophy, space, time and reality, there is always Jostein Gardner’s The Christmas Mystery. We have many more Christmas themed books from around the world to delight children, illustrators and those young at heart in the Outside In World collection.

Or just curl up beside a roaring digital fire

If you’ve just had enough, you can curl up beside a roaring, crackling fire, without the need for wood fuel and a fireplace, when you stream a festive fireplace to your laptop or TV and bask in its digital glow.

Assistant Librarian (Promotions) at the University Library. An enthusiastic advocate of libraries, diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice for all, inside and outside the workplace.

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