Christmas in the Libraries

December 2021


We are celebrating Christmas! See below for some great activities and resources for a little fun.

Christmas cooking and craft 

As you can imagine, we have a good collection of books on Christmas (and don't forget the Christmas music, can't have Christmas without some of that) from cooking through to crafts. Here is a couple of books that caught my eye on the shelves today.

Handcrafted gifts  

Handcrafted gifts : make and give something beautiful and meaningful.

Handcrafted gifts has more than 160 ideas and inspirations for makers of all types, skill levels, and tastes. The reason I'm so liking this book is that it touches on all sorts of handicrafts. Several of my favourites are in there in a really nice, but basic way. This is a book that looks like it can actually give you a good product to make and gift to a loved one, and in the process expose you to the beginnings of a whole new craft. Well worth a look.

Request a print copy via our catalogue

 Christmas basics by Pamela Clark

Christmas basics : simple easy to follow recipes for the festive season

By Pamela Clark.

 A lot of home cooks come up with wondrous feasts year after year at Christmas gatherings. This cookbook will teach you all the tricks for producing just about every recipe you've ever dreamed of that's suitable for the holiday season. Included are tips, hints, accompaniments, time lines to follow with step by step photos to guide you through the many fabulous recipes.

I have a favourite recipe of my own that I discovered in a magazine years ago called Champagne Jelly with Summer Berries. This recipe book, along with some great basic recipes has a similar recipe on page 169, Prosecco Jellies with Cherries and Berries. Basically you make a firm jelly out of a bottle of bubbly and let it set with fruit in it. It is a great entertaining wowser and can be prepared the day before, taking away effort on the day of your party. 

Request a print copy via our catalogue

 Green Christmas by Eilidh Gallagher

Green Christmas: Little changes that bring joy & help the planet

By Eilidh Gallagher

Christmas shouldn't be about stress and guilt, or creating endless waste that's bad for the environment. Instead, take a breath and think about what this time of year really means to you. Perhaps you'll start by creating your own advent calender, upcycling a novelty jumper or learning the art of 'furoshiki' gift-wrapping. It's all about little tips and ideas that will bring you joy and the planet will thank you too! 

Request a print copy via our catalogue


Speaking of Christmas recipes, one of our eNews readers recommended a few online Christmas recipes:

I'd like to share a favourite of mine from my grandmother which I have adapted over the years (and make most Christmases). She originally called it Chocolate Rough, but I've played with the recipe so much I'm not sure it still deserves the name. Measurements are approximate.

The base mix

  • 250g packet Arnotts Choc Ripple biscuits 
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut + plus extra 
  • 395g can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon of sherry
  1. Throw the biscuits into a food processor and process until crumbs (my grandmother used to roll them with a rolling pin).
  2. Mix the biscuit crumbs and all the dry ingredients together.
  3. Add the flavour ingredients (see below). Mix well.
  4. Add sherry and enough of the condensed milk to bring the mixture together to make a firm dough.
  5. Either roll the dough into a sausage log or into small balls, coat in extra coconut. If creating a log, wrap in baking paper/greaseproof paper, then aluminium foil to keep the shape.
  6. Place in refrigerator. It will be ready to eat when cold and set. Slice the log and serve.


Flavour variations

My grandmother used to make two varieties. One had 1/2 cup of dried mixed fruit in it (I always add more because I love dense fruit). The other was peppermint-flavoured - crush/food process a roll of peppermint lifesavers lollies (warning, it is loud in the mini-food processor I use). you can also add a dash of peppermint essence to the mix for more flavour if you like.

One variation of my own making involved crushing up choc-orange jaffas and throwing them into the base mix. I would also add a little orange essence as well.

Basically take the base and make what you would like with it. it is a great recipe to take on picnics and is a great day-before recipe that can last quite some time.

During a conversation with a New Zealand friend of mine a while back, I discovered that this recipe bears a lot of similarity to the New Zealand Lolly Cake, so there is a more structured recipe to follow.

- Ruth, The City of Unley Libraries


Caitlin also has a recipe to share from her grandmother.

Elsie's Ginger Kisses


  • 115g butter
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 30g brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Half tsp ground nutmeg
  1. Melt butter, stir in sugars, then flour and spices.
  2. Roll in to balls and then press down with a fork. 
  3. Cook in 180 degree oven for about 12 minutes. They can burn easily so watch them!


  • 125g butter
  • 1.5 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tsp golden syrup
  1. Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar gradually and beat until combined. Add syrup and beat
  2. Spread onto cooled biscuits and stick together. 


Recommended Christmas books for kids

(from our Children's team)

That Christmas feeling

by Lili Wilkinson ; illustrated by Amanda Francey.

Dottie is waiting for the Christmas feeling to arrive - that fizzy, excited feeling, where everything is a bit magical. But this year, Dottie, her brother, Jem, and their dog, Shortbread, are staying with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma and Grandpa are trying hard, but Christmas just isn't the same...

 That Christmas Feeling by Lili Wilkinson and Amanda Francey  
 Dino love at Christmas by Michelle Worthington and Veronica Montoya

Dino love at Christmas

by Michelle Worthington ; illustrated by Veronica Montoya.

Treat yourself to this colourful Christmas story, as the adorable dinosaurs come together to celebrate. With festive fun and kindness, Christmas love is all around.

Wombat divine

by Mem Fox ; illustrated by Kerry Argent.

Wombat loved Christmas. He loved the carols and the candles, the presents and the pudding, but most of all he loved the Nativity Play... Wombat loves the Nativity Play so much that he tried out for every part, but he doesn't seem to be right for any of them. Luckily, wise emu knows the perfect role for a sleepy wombat, and it's the best Nativity Play ever.

 Wombat Divine by Mem Fox and Kerry Argent     
 Pig the elf by Aaron Blabey    

Pig the elf

by Aaron Blabey

Santa was coming.'Twas bigger than big. But no-one was feeling more festive than pig. No one loves Christmas more than Pig and the world's greediest Pug will stay up all night to get his presents.

Have it read to you on Storybox
(You will need to login using your library card number. Login at the top right. Choose Library, Find 'The City of Unley' and enter your library card number.)

The Christmas star

by Hilary Robinson ; illustrated by Ciara Ni Dhuinn.

It's a very special night for the angels of heaven. An incredibly important baby has been born, and they need to find the best and brightest star to lead travellers to him. So what will they do when very smallest star in the sky asks to play the part?

The Christmas Star by Hilary Robinson
 What do you wish for? by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker    

What do you wish for?

by Jane Godwin & Anna Walker.

All the children in the street are writing down a special Christmas wish. But what is Ruby's wish? What does she wish for at Christmas time? Ruby thinks of all the things that make Christmas special

Have it read to you on Storybox
(You will need to login using your library card number. Login at the top right. Choose Library, Find 'The City of Unley' and enter your library card number.)

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas

by Alison Ritchie and Marisa Morea

The big day has almost arrived and one little puppy is very excited about his first EVER Christmas. But with three drooling Dalmatians, six sausage-snaffling Scotties and every dog in town helping out, the festive season is a shambles! Will everything be ready in time for Christmas Day? Children will love picking their favourite dogs and spotting the puppy in busy scenes. This hilarious picture book is a great way to introduce children to Christmas traditions.

The twelve dogs of Christmas by Alison Ritchie and Marisa Morea
 Fly, Fly, Fly your Sleigh by John Hay and Gerry Parsons    

Fly, fly, fly your sleigh

by John Hay and Garry Parsons.

It's Christmas Eve, and in Santa's workshop all is not well. The elves might be hard at work, but Santa's in a grump, and he's not going to deliver the presents. Disaster. The elves are determined to cheer Santa up with some tuneful songs. Starting with Row, Row, Row Your Boat and moving on to classics such as Hang, Hang, Hang Your Socks! and Peel, Peel, Peel the Sprouts! But can they get Santa smiling again, and into his sleigh on Christmas Eve?

The Night after Christmas

by Kes Gray and Claire Powell

Phew! Now that the presents are all delivered, at last Father Christmas and the elves can enjoy their own festive fun! With crackers and presents, dance-off and light shows, Santa's Boxing-night party is the North Pole's biggest event of the year! For anyone who has ever wondered what Santa gets up to once all the present are delivered.

The night after Christmas by Kes Gray and Claire Powell

We have the first of our Christmas Create and Craft videos now available.


Caitlin creates a quick and easy paper plate Christmas tree designed for ages 2-5 years to make with a carer.

No template is needed for this one.  All you will need is:

  • A thin paper plate
  • Green tissue/crepe paper/cellophane
  • A piece of string or ribbon
  • Coloured or sparkly card
  • Some bits and pieces to decorate the tree. We used patty pans, but you can use anything that is safe for a child to use.
  • A pair of scissors, a glue stick and some sticky tape will help you stick it all together.

This craft can go with any of the books above, though one with a Christmas tree would be most appropriate. Some of the books above are available on Storybox, so you can have them read to you.

A few years ago, Jake and I had a chat about Christmas traditions. It was a good chat and still relevant today.


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