Some of my favourite memories as a child are unwrapping books for Christmas. Normally, it was the newest edition in the Harry Potter series, which I would then greedily read by the end of Boxing Day before my family could get their hands on it.
Now that the Harry Potter books have reached their end, and the only books I read are for my course, it’s lucky that there are ways to incorporate literature into fun: festive activities alongside catching up on all the course reading I may or may not have completed.
Harry Potter Studio Tour
To kick it off with a Potter themed activity, the Harry Potter studio tour is a brilliant way to incorporate the book phenomenon into Christmas. Yes, I’m aware that the studio tour is based on the movies (cue the classic ‘they aren’t as good as the books’ protests). However, the tour at Christmas, entitled ‘Hogwarts in the Snow’, brilliantly brings to life the stunning, snowy Hogwarts Rowling depicts in her books.
The shop is also fantastic if you’re stuck for last minute Christmas ideas
Not only do you get to see the Wizarding World come to life, you get to pose on a broomstick in front of a green screen and feel like you’re in a real life Quidditch match or one of Madam Hooch’s flying lessons, as well as enjoy some Butterbeer from a slightly-overpriced version of Rowling’s ‘The Three Broomsticks’. The shop is also fantastic if you’re stuck for last minute Christmas ideas – who wouldn’t love a stuffed Hedwig for Christmas or a full set of Slytherin robes for their least favourite sibling?
Christmas Performances at the RSC
Every year the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) adapt a classic for their Christmas production. In the past, this has included Shakespeare’s The Tempest and A Winter’s Tale, however this year Director David Edgar is showcasing us the world of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
While you can normally expect something spectacular from the RSC, the Christmas productions are usually family friendly and enjoyable as opposed to other the more experimental takes on plays and novels the company has devised before. You can expect a bit of tradition and a good laugh for a relatively low price, and while you’re in Stratford Upon Avon there are plenty more literary things to do and see. While rowing on the canal in one of the literary named rowing boats might not be preferable in the winter, seeing Shakespeare’s home shrouded in snow is worth a peek while you’re there.
Everyone must then write down an idea for the first sentence of the book, which will all be read out as well as the real sentence
Literary Christmas Games on Christmas Day
Here is a great game to create a literary ‘event’ without leaving your home, and a good way to wind down after overloading on Brussels sprouts at Christmas dinner before charging into an intense game of Monopoly and then falling asleep.
This game looks quite similar to Balderdash (if you know it), and you basically get yourself a pile of paperback books – different genres preferably – and a person will read out the blurb on the back of the book to the rest of the players. Everyone must then write down an idea for the first sentence of the book, which will all be read out as well as the real sentence. Everyone must then vote on what they think is the real first sentence – if you manage to convince someone that yours is the correct one, you’ll get a point. Although, I perhaps wouldn’t pick Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for this game, we all know that iconic line of ‘Mr and Mrs Dursley of Number Four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much,’ far too well.