A friend on Facebook just asked what films people recommend to get in the mood for Yuletide.
Here are a few that I have watched or listened to and really enjoyed over the years.
This is not specifically a Yule tale, but it is a wonderful piece of animation, and a great retelling of some of the key stories of the Mabinogion. It’s also available as a graphic novel. It’s not available for sale, but someone has uploaded it to YouTube.
Solstice, by Alison McLeay (1985)
This was a radio play first broadcast in 1985. It’s a wonderful evocation of the idea of Father Christmas as the ancient shaman of Yule. It may not be 100% historically accurate, but it is beautifully written and performed. There’s more about it in this article, a transcript, and a link to the audio.
Gawain and the Green Knight (1991)
Live-action made-for-TV movie from 1991. It may be dated but it is fairly true to the story as I recall, and I very much enjoyed it. You can get it on Amazon.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2002)
There was a beautiful animated version televised in 2002. It was like watching moving stained glass, and it had beautiful music. Sadly, it is not currently available on DVD. But it is on Youtube!
The Box of Delights (1984)
Adapted from the novel by John Masefield, this was a delightful children’s drama with a magician, Herne the Hunter, a scary villain, and a threatening snow-storm. Available on DVD.
The Gift of Naughtiness
A Merry Mumming Morris Christmas, by LumiereCDN (2013)
A great video of various Yuletide mummers’ plays and morris dancing.
Thanks to Nigel for asking the question that prompted me to write this post. Thanks to Nick for introducing me to Solstice and Box of Delights. And thanks to Adam and Jane for introducing me to the 1991 version of Gawain and the Green Knight.
Check out Nigel’s books on traditional witchcraft,
The Devil’s Plantation; East Anglian Lore, Witchcraft and Folk-Magic and Treading the Mill.