With help from our TV sponsors at Lightbox, Tara Ward rounds up some of the most delicious Christmas TV specials for you to feast upon.
There’s 100 reasons why Christmas is so bloody awesome, and 99 of them relate to watching TV specials about Christmas.
Indeed, there is no better time than Christmas to watch television about Christmas. Because what is Christmas if you’re not spending your precious holidays staring at a screen filled with angry campers, monstrous fairy lights, and an asteroid hurtling its merry old way towards Earth?
Come, all ye faithful, as I give you Exhibit A: Call the Midwife. Look how happy Christmas television makes them! See how they laugh! Oh Christmas, you are too kind.
Christmas television is the gift that keeps on giving, so let’s feast our eyes upon the best of Lightbox’s yuletide gems. Decorate your televisual tree with these treasures, let them be the nut to your cracker and the jingle to your bells.
Parks & Recreation “Citizen Knope” (season 4, episode 10)
If the true meaning of Christmas can’t be found inside this giant gingerbread replica of a local government office building, then we should all give up looking. Twas a Christmas miracle when the Parks and Rec team banded together to give Lesley this delicious gift, probably the finest thing ever made in the blessed town of Pawnee.
Also, this episode features Rob Lowe wearing a shirt made from synthetic beeswax, which is all my Christmas dreams come true.
Outrageous Fortune (season 2, episode 17)
Wrap your optic nerves around this classic Kiwi Christmas special, featuring the annual West family camping holiday at Tutaekuri Bay. Things turn ugly when someone pinches the West’s favourite camping spot, Judd ends up in the slammer, and Cheryl’s estranged sister turns up from the Exclusive Brethren wilderness.
In the immortal words of Queen Cheryl: “merry fucking Christmas”.
Call the Midwife (season 4, episode 1)
Warm the cockles of your cold, dead heart with a nostalgic trip back to December 1959, when a Christmas concert unites the community, the midwives smile kindly at everyone and there are more fruit mince pies than you can shake an East End stick at.
No surprises here, Rick Stein bloody loves a Cornish Christmas even more than he loves a Rick Stein Spanish Christmas. Let’s rickroll our way to Cornwall ASAP, where the gastric juices flow like the juice of a thousand boiled clementines and the Christmas lights are shaped like the Loch Ness Monster. See, it really is the most wonderful time of the year.
The Extras Christmas special (season 2, episode 7)
As TV editor Alex Casey said herself last year: “The Extras Christmas special delicately balances all the humour, pathos and celebrity cameos that make Extras a perfect show. The concluding chapter to Andy Millman’s fruitless pursuit of fame and fortune, it also has all the crucial moral elements need for a solid piece of Christmas entertainment. There are messages about friendship, generosity and authenticity, all without there being one Christmas ghost in sight.”
Downton Abbey (season 2, episodes 9 & 10)
Nobody does Christmas with more repressed emotions and aristocratic games of charades than Lord Grantham’s crew. The drama in this double episode extravaganza is as huge as the Christmas tree and includes a punch-up in the library, a murder trial and a marriage proposal. If that doesn’t make you want to stick Matthew Crawley at the top of your tree and leave him there until 2018, then I bid you good day, sir.
30 Rock’s “Ludachristmas” (season 2, episode 9)
Chuck on your favourite snowflake sweater and grab yourself a tasty piece of owl meat, as you prepare to bask in the glorious holiday glow radiating from the Lemon family Christmas. There’s iceskating, there’s Ludachristmas, there’s fried onion towers aplenty. Ho-ho-honestly, what more do you need?
The West Wing “Impact Winter” (season 6, episode 9)
If you thought your own Christmas was a shitstorm of tinselly stress and anxiety, this tense episode of political drama The West Wing puts everything in perspective. It’s bad enough that President Bartlett is paralysed by MS during a visit to China, but it’s even worse/better that an asteroid is hurtling its way towards Earth. That’s right, an asteroid. Happy holidays, everyone!
to our journalism!Find Out More
Click below to witness many Christmas miracles in The West Wing, 30 Rock, Extras, Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey on Lightbox today
This content, like all television coverage we do at The Spinoff, is brought to you thanks to the excellent folk at Lightbox. Do us and yourself a favour by clicking here to start a FREE 30 day trial of this truly wonderful service.
Join The Spinoff Members for as little as $1 to help us hire more journalists and do more investigations. Or get a free Toby Morris-designed tea towel when you contribute $80 or more over a year.
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.