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Learn Your Way: Festive content picks with Dean of ULaw Online Carol Draycott

Carol Draycott, Dean of ULaw Online, shares her top content picks for the Christmas break, from music and podcasts to TV/film and live theatre. What will you be listening to/watching this holiday season?

By Elena Carruthers. Published 20 December 2021. Last updated 11 January 2023.

Christmas is always a huge family time for me and what I will be listening to and watching reflects a lot of family traditions and being with my immediate family, extended family and friends. We have a number of family birthdays in December too, some very near to Christmas which adds to the feeling of fun and festivity for us all.

I love Christmas songs and listening to “A Very Special Christmas” and “Jazz to the World” which are compilations of well-known Christmas songs performed by different artists with special arrangements. They will start being played from quite early in December as I love to have Christmas music on in the background when I write my Christmas cards and wrap presents. Other than that, it will be the very eclectic family playlist on including the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Beyonce, Motown, Taylor Swift, Abba and anything else we can all sing along to, and occasionally dance to, in the kitchen.

Podcasts will be for the quiet times over the Christmas period and I will catch-up with “The Travel Diaries”, until it is easier to travel again, listening to this helps fulfil my wanderlust and plan for future adventures; “Costing the earth and green originals”, to prompt me to think about how I can play my part in the fight to be more environmentally friendly, a timely reminder at Christmas when there is so much excess; “You’re Wrong About”, which gives the true story behind many news articles that I think I know about but when I listen to this realise that maybe we didn’t get the full story in the press. I will also listen again to the excellent podcasts the Ulaw Online Team are producing and placing on the online hub for staff and students to enjoy.

There are two films that have to be watched in our house over Christmas the first is “Elf” and until we all sit down and watch it together the Christmas season cannot start, although my daughters are now adults it has never lost its appeal. The other Christmas film that we always watch is “Love Actually” which makes us laugh and cry in equal measures. I will also take the extra time available over the Christmas break to catch up with films I have wanted to see this year but not yet got round to like, “The Mauritanian”, as I always enjoy a film involving law in some way and “Belfast”,  a film based on Kenneth Brannagh’s story as a young boy growing up in Northern Ireland and with Dame Judi Dench in the cast it is on my list of must sees.

My TV choices are more difficult as there is so much choice. I have been very slow coming to “The Crown” but having just completed season one I will be hoping to watch the remaining seasons as I have loved the modern history aspect it portrays. I will also catch-up with and re-watch any of the David Attenborough documentaries I can find, the photography is amazing and they are often another reminder about the need to act now to help the planet. The other must watch TV for me over Christmas is Jools Holland’s Hootenanny shown on New Years Eve, although it is usually the next day when I actually watch it – lots of great music and guests looking back at the past year

In addition to all of the above, as a family we love the theatre and will be seeing Matthew Bourne’s, “The Nutcracker”, to start us in the festive mood and we will also be going to the local theatre to see the annual rock-and-roll panto, a panto with a difference as all the actors also play instruments and in parts it is like being at a concert.

I am sure you all have your own traditions and plans for the festive season and whatever they are I wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas.


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