Question of the week: what’s your favourite part of TV Christmas?

Christmas on TV is a decidedly different affair from normal. The Christmas/Holiday special is the most obvious example.

However, there are differences on either side of the Atlantic as to how TV celebrates Christmas. Largely, around now, the regular US TV shows start winding down, to be replaced by movies, light entertainment shows and Christmas specials, usually ones that have been show every year since the dawn of TV time.

Meanwhile, in the UK, as well as a whole bunch of movies that have been shown since the dawn of TV film time…

…the tradition for most shows to continue up until nearly Christmas and for other shows to return with all-new, one-off, sometimes feature-length episodes.

So this week’s question is a two-parter:

Which approach do you think is better? And what’s your favourite Christmas show ever?

Answers below or on your own blog, please.

  • Gareth Williams

    A work colleague lent me a DVD copy of that Star Wars Christmas special, which he had bought of eBay, and then refused to take it back off me again!

  • Despite the variable consistency of them, I have to say I’d now feel bereft if Xmas didn’t promise me a dose of Doctor Who (and that’s from someone who was stuck on the other side of the planet for two xmas days – admittedly it was in the NZ summer…)
    I’d also say I prefer the UK approach – but that’s because I’ve never watched TV to schedule US-style (being a good girl re transatlantic broadcasting). Therefore I can’t really compare because I’m just going by what I know the US does rather than living their broadcast experiences.

  • bob

    Despite being a relatively new thing, Doctor Who has become the centrepiece of Christmas in my family. I’ve never stayed in America for Christmas so I don’t know what actually happens there during the period first hand. I guess there are no traditions of families gathering around the telly or something. I wonder what they do instead…?

  • SK

    You’ll probably be unsurprised to hear I like the British Christmas, partly because familiarity and partly of the way the two kind of grow up around the respective ways of doing television: if you do lots of shorter runs of different programmes, then there’s no point in interrupting them much for Christmas (and ideally you schedule them so they end just before the Christmas season, or start in January, so you don’t need a break at all) while if you have the same programmes running from September to May a break at Christmas is probably necessary to stop the entire audience killing themselves from sheer boredom.
    I gather in America the big family time is Thanksgiving, not Christmas, and the TV centrepiece is a game of American football. but then I get all my information from… watching television.