- 15 Dec 2020
19 books, films and podcasts to enjoy this Christmas
This Christmas is going to be a bit different.
Sure, there’ll be no office party and no carol singing. But there is a silver lining… Plenty of time to relax! And more time to indulge in the simplest, cosiest comforts.
Our team have hand-picked their favourite books, films and podcasts to keep you occupied this festive season.
We’ve included Amazon links to buy the books. But if you have a local bookshop, you might want to buy it from them instead.
If you want to… settle down in front of the fire
Radio 3 (listen)
A warm fire, a glass of red wine and a spot of Radio 3… Who’d want to go out?
Stranger Things (Netflix)
If you’re looking for something a bit more pacey - or have kids to entertain - Stranger Things is just the ticket.
Think golden-era Spielberg with a dark side. Unexplained supernatural phenomenon and lots of big hair. Well, it is set in 1983...
It’s a Wonderful Life (Amazon)
Arguably the greatest Christmas film of all time - it’s just not Christmas until you’ve watched it.
If you’ve got dry eyes at the end, you might be The Grinch.
Middlemarch by George Elliot (Amazon)
The best British novel of all time? It’s certainly up there.
Full of unforgettable quotes and characters, this is a perfect Christmas read.
Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell (Amazon)
Think you’re good at reading people you don’t know? Think again.
Gladwell’s books are as entertaining as they are informative - and Talking to Strangers is no exception.
Foo Fighters Sonic Highways (Amazon)
If you want to remember what live music is like, check out this BBC ‘rockumentary’.
It’s a cracking eight-part homage to road trips and the roots of rock and roll.
If you want to… be amazed
Everyone Hates Marketers podcast (listen)
Yes, most marketing podcasts are rubbish. But this one isn’t (honest!).
Warning: there is quite a bit of swearing. But if you can handle the f-bombs, it’s full of interesting ideas and good advice.
Fascinated by human psychology?
Both of these podcasts dig deep into the human psyche, illuminating what makes us tick and why we make the decisions we do.
Extra Time by Camilla Cavendish (Amazon)
Extra Time challenges the idea that ageing equals frailty or dullness.
Packed full of extensive research and data, Cavendish challenges the idea of slowing down and fading with age, instead arguing that we can all live longer and fuller lives if we make the right choices.
My Octopus Teacher (Netflix)
You’ll never look at an Octopus quite the same way after this moving, award-winning Netflix documentary.
Watch it after you write your Christmas list or you’ll probably ask for a fish tank.
If you want to… have a giggle
Schitt’s Creek (Netflix)
Warning: massive risk of binge-watching.
For pure comedy value, Schitt’s Creek is the one. A mega-rich family loses their fortune and ends up in a town called (you guessed it) Schitt’s Creek.
Cards Against Humanity (Amazon)
An absolute hoot - not to be played with easily-offended guests.
You have been warned.
Jack Whitehall: Travels With my Father (Netflix)
Take a baby-faced comic, pair him with his straight-faced Dad, send them travelling around the world and what do you get?
Pure, unadulterated joy. It’s also nice to get a glimpse of other countries (remember those?).
Posh Nosh (YouTube)
An oldie but definitely a goodie. Posh Nosh, starring Richard E Grant and Arabella Weir, is the ultimate send-up of snobby foodies.
You’ll be chuckling into your Chateauneuf, darling.
If you want to… feel inspired
A walk on a bright, clear morning
Good for the soul. No wifi required.
Desert Island Discs (listen)
Did you know Desert Island Discs first aired in 1942? And yet, somehow, it’s still endlessly fascinating.
Timeless stuff indeed.
Sway podcast by Kara Swisher (listen)
Kara Swisher has quite the contacts book. Elon Musk, Hilary Clinton and more feature in this insightful interview series.
Interviews with the super-famous can be a bit fawning, but Kara isn’t afraid to challenge her guests, making for interviews that are unpredictable and very listenable.
Thirteen Minutes to the Moon podcast (listen)
If you only listen to one podcast this Christmas, make it this one. Space, rockets, peril - it’s all there. This is a fantastic podcast full of edge-of-your-seat storytelling.
The first series chronicles the 13-minute descent to the moon’s surface. The second covers the heroic efforts to get the crippled Apollo 13 crew back to earth. Well worth every minute.
What, no business books?
Nope, not this year. Let’s face it, most business books aren’t worth the time it takes to read them.
In fact, we downloaded Blinkist recently. It’s an app that condenses business books down to 15-20-minute podcasts. Highly recommended!
We hope you have a wonderful Christmas.
Don’t check your emails. Do have another mince pie.