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Well, it’s that time of year again. Work seems a distant memory as we stuff ourselves full of Cadbury’s Roses, the sherry comes out for Gran, and we all endure our share of Brussels sprouts to get to the turkey. Festive season is in full swing, and as nice as it is to be with relatives and loved ones, sometimes we all need a distraction to get us through the days. 

Since we’re now well and truly in the digital age, with a new decade just around the corner that promises to bring even further technological advancements, why not take advantage of the connectivity that the information superhighway affords us? Here’s a rundown of some of the best online entertainment available to get you through the festive season 2019. 

eSports

eSports has taken the world by storm this year. Whether it’s been global game tournaments offering multi million dollars in prize money, a la Fortnite World Cup or DotA2, or major sports teams getting in on the action, professional video gaming is up there as a thoroughly 21st century career path. 

What makes playing eSports games online so entertaining is that you’ll be able to connect with other players across the globe. These games fall under the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO) and Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) categories, and for the most part can only be played or completed by forming teams. 

Of course, we’re not suggesting that over the holidays you’ll turn into a pro, but you can still get involved in grassroots eSports online by playing some of the classic games like League of Legends, Counter-Strike etc. Battle royale favourite, Fornite, is also available to play as a mobile app, and there are plenty of free to play PC eSports games too, such as Hearthstone and Guild Wars 2.     

iGaming

Otherwise known as the more grown up version of eSports, iGaming is the umbrella term for online real money gaming and wagering activities and includes things like online poker tournaments, online and mobile casino gaming, and sports/event betting. 

The industry is vast and, as you might expect, there are all manner of different games and activities to play for real money. Obviously, iGaming activities are strictly adults only and any platform worth its salt will undergo KYC (Know Your Customer) procedures to ensure that this is maintained. 

One of the most popular sectors of the industry is online poker. Although there are certainly professional level poker tournaments played online, the vast majority of games are designed with the causal and amateur player in mind. Consequently, it’s possible to play everything from Virtual Reality poker games set in space, to classic Texas Hold ‘Em variations online. 

If poker’s not your thing there are plenty of other activities and games to try, such as online versions of high & low stakes classic roulette games, for example, or slots themed after your favourite TV show. 

Content Streaming

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Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, HBO Go… Online streaming platforms have really dominated the home entertainment space during the latter half of the decade but they’re far from being a flash in the pan. You may have already signed-up with a platform to enjoy your favourite big name shows, like Game Of Thrones, Stranger Things or Killing Eve, but we’re certain that you’ve missed out on a few lesser known series and films that will make totally absorbing viewing over the holiday period. 

Some of our favourites include Flowers, starring HRH herself Olivia Coleman as the matriarch of a genuinely unusual clan of British intellectuals, Penn & Teller’s Bull***!, a seven-season documentary series that sees the duo of magicians examine a whole host of topics, and the fascinating Abstract:The Art of Design contemporary art documentary series.

You would also be forgiven for thinking that YouTube has been overtaken by beauty influencers and gamers of late, but it’s still a great place to check out some hidden gems. The New York Times Almost Famous series is a favourite of late, including this heartwarming episode centered on The Liver Birds, Britain’s first all-female rock band.