Santa Claus (1898), from http://creative.bfi.org.uk
The Creative Archive Licence Group is a number of organisations (BFI, BBC, Channel 4, Open University, Community Channel, Teachers’ TV, Museums Libraries and Archives Council, ITN Source) dedicated to making video clips available online for free downloading in the UK under a Creative Licence scheme, which essentially means that you can download, keep and re-use the material so long as you do so under the terms of the licence, which means not selling the material, and if you re-publish it (within the UK) to say where it came from and make your creation available under the same licence terms.
All of which sounds impressive, though the amount of material released is very small, with the major partner, the BBC, having withdrawn from the scheme for the time being. But the British Film Institute has a Creative Archive site with a modest selection of mostly silent films there for anyone in the UK to download for free. And, in the spirit of the season, the selection includes three Christmassy titles: G.A. Smith’s Santa Claus (1898), with its innovative superimposition and double-exposure effects (as well as maybe the world’s first opening title); Robert Paul’s Scrooge (1901), condensing Dickens’ classic tale into a taut three minutes; and James Williamson’s heart-rending take on Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Match Seller (1902).
Download and be merry.