Christmas in the Libraries 2023

November 2023

Scroll down for some festive events, recommendations and recipes. 

Book recommendations for the Festive Season

Festive cookery

Christmas feasts and treats by Donna Hay

Christmas feasts and treats

By Donna Hay

Donna Hay makes Christmas cooking and entertaining so easy, with this must-have collection of over 200 easy, delicious, reliable and totally fabulous Christmas recipes to make, enjoy and give over the festive season. I've had a hand in cooking Christmas feasts for as long as I can remember, but because it comes around only once a year, I know it can be a little bit daunting - especially if you're attempting a new glazed ham or you're asked to bring something different for dessert. This book is full of recipes I love and trust for exactly those times. With step-by-step images and plan-ahead tips, you can change-up your menu with confidence. And, while I admit I never stray too far from the classics at Christmas (call me nostalgic!), you'll find plenty of modern styling ideas and time-saving tricks inside.

Request a copy via our catalogue

The Christmas movie cookbook by Julia Rutland

The Christmas movie cookbook : recipes from your favorite holiday films

By Julia Rutland

This holiday season, rather than just watching merry festivities on-screen, bring the feast to your own home using The Christmas Movie Cookbook with over 65 scrumptious recipes inspired by the scenes from your favourite Christmas films!

Request a copy via our catalogue

Georgia's cakes : a step-by-step masterclass to make every cake a showstopper by Georgia Green

Georgia's cakes : a step-by-step masterclass to make every cake a showstopper

By Georgia Green

If you're looking to take your cake decorating skills to the next level then look no further. No other book guides you through every step of cake decorating with as much detail and explanation as this one, while keeping it as simple and accessible as possible. Georgia's expertise, knowledge and teaching skills will transform the way you understand and approach modern day cake decorating.

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Cocktail botanica : 60+ drinks inspired by nature by Ellouise Anders and Annabelle Lambie

Cocktail botanica : 60+ drinks inspired by nature

By Elouise Anders and Annabelle Lambie

This is a celebration of all things floral, herbaceous, fruity and boozy. Explore the world of botanical cocktails - delicious boozy concoctions that use the very best floral, herbaceous and fruity ingredients. With more than sixty recipes for infused cocktails and punches to please a crowd. Featuring cocktails, punches, and botanical-infused spirits, this book uses herbs, fruits, flowers, and all things botanical that you can buy, forage, or grow. Full of botanical twists on classics, like a peachy old-fashioned, rose martini, or thyme salty dog, this book will delight your guests and put your garden to good use when you're entertaining.

Request a copy via our catalogue

For more festive recipes visit our Festive Cookery recommendations

We created a huge list of children's books along side some crafts, so we also added some Christmas craft books for adults. We will be adding to these lists, so keep an eye on them.

Recipe recommendations

Jacinta, from our Youth and Children's team, has a recipe and a website recommendation for you this year.

Christmas Mint Slice balls

These are exactly what they sound like - Mint Slice biscuits combined with cream cheese, chocolate and some sweets for a garnish. Quick easy and totally delicious. From Jacinta: I love making these for Christmas parties, super easy sweet treat to put together so you don’t arrive empty handed! 

Visit Bake Play Smile for this recipe.

Jane's patisserie - Christmas baking recipes

From Jacinta: a baker after my heart, Jane’s Patisserie is a wealth of festive baking ideas.  

Visit Jane's Patisserie


Nicole, our Digital Literacy Coordinator (Reboot Maestro), has recommended some adult decadence along with some fun with the kids.


This one is from Jamie Oliver and definitely comes under the 'decadence' option with chocolate, orange, vin santo, marscapone and silky ricotta.

Visit Jamie Oliver's website.

Search for his recipe books in our catalogue.

Eton Mess wreath

This is one of those recipes where the kids will both enjoy helping to make it and devouring it, plus it is one of the healthier options with fruit and yoghurt. This also makes it lighter to eat after that Christmas lunch.

Visit Kidspot Kitchen.

Previous years' Christmas recipes


Christmas 2022

Nicole has offered us one of her online favourite recipes. I know I want to try this one. Christmas Jelly Cake is reportedly easy to make around kids and is always a hit, and there is no baking required. Here is a photo of Nicole's yummy creation.

Christmas jelly cake

The Collections Team has voted to offer you this recipe.

Spinach and cheese puff pastries

This is a quick and easy family favourite that are good hot or cold. Perfect for bringing along to family gatherings. And also, the spinach is very festively coloured when topped with tomato sauce (green and red!)

  • 500g frozen spinach
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 cup crumpled hard feta
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 4-5 Sheets puff pastry
  • 1 egg for glazing (optional, can use milk or dairy-free milk substitute)
  1. Grease two large oven trays with preferred oil.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  3. Thinly slice onion and grate carrot.
  4. In a medium sized frying pan, add a little oil and fry onion and carrot. When both have begun to cook add spinach. Stir with heat on until most moisture has evaporated. Then turn off and leave to cool down.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine both cheeses with wooden spoon. Mix cooled vegetables into bowl until well coated by cheese. Stir in pinch of salt and pepper if desired.
  6. On a large chopping board, lay out first sheet of puff pastry. With a sharp knife, cut sheet down the centre into two equal, long rectangles.
  7. Spoon cheese and vegetable mix onto one end of pastry rectangle. Fold other end of pastry over the top of mixture and then press down edges with fingers to seal mix inside. Repeat to make 8 or 10 pastries depending on much filling you use in each.
  8. Once all pastries are filled and folded poke each with a fork once to create air holes.
  9. Place each pastry on the greased oven trays. Each tray should be able to hold 4 – 6 pastries.
  10. Glaze tops of pastries with whisked egg or milk using pastry brush or fork.
  11. Place trays in oven for 20-30 minutes.
  12. Serve immediately with tomato sauce or store in fridge for reheating or eating cold. Pastries should last at least three days.

Christmas 2021

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. 


 Christmas recommendations for children

Duggee's night before Christmas

Duggee's night before Christmas


Discover the magic of Christmas eve with Duggee and the Squirrels. 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the clubhouse, not a Squirrel was stirring, not even a mouse. It's Christmas Eve and the Squirrels are tucked up in bed fast asleep. Suddenly a noise outside wakes them up. Who could it be? Happy Woofmas to all, and to all a good night!

Request a copy via our catalogue

We disagree about this tree by Ross Collins

We disagree about this tree

By Ross Collins

A fantastically funny festive story about the Bear and Mouse who ALWAYS disagree from the award-winning Ross Collins, creator of the bestselling There's a Bear on My Chair. Bear and Mouse have finally overcome their differences and are living together in perfect harmony... until it's time to decorate the Christmas tree! Bear wants dazzling lights, while Mouse prefers gigantic baubles... and, wait a minute, did Mouse just put a MANATEE on the top?! A topsy-turvy tree is definitely THE LAST STRAW and it looks as if Christmas is RUINED. But maybe, just maybe, Bear and Mouse can reach a compromise in time...?

Request a copy via our catalogue

The Christmas sprout by Richard Dungworth and Samantha Meredith

The Christmas sprout

By Richard Dungworth and Samantha Meredith

Say hello to a small green chap called Stephen Sprout! Stephen is no ordinary sprout, but a Christmas sprout who is on a quest to spread the gift of kindness and he needs your help! All of Stephen's friends are having wobbles and squabbles, so it's up to this sort-it-out sprout to save the day just in time for Christmas.

Request a copy via our catalogue

More children's Christmas recommendations including picture books, non-fiction, films and crafts.


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