HLN’s Christmas TV guide
From Christmas Day TV specials to holiday hits from all the streaming giants, here’s everything team HLN will be watching this festive season.
By Christopher Kingston
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – which means we have loads of great TV to look forward to.
From cheesy rom-coms and Christmas movies to amazing animations, Christmas Day TV specials and a couple of fantasy epics thrown in for good measure, here’s HLN’s Christmas TV Guide…
Falling for Christmas
Out now, Netflix
Kickstart the Christmas TV extravaganza in style with Mean Girls star Lindsay Lohan, who plays a spoilt heiress who goes missing after an accident.
After being diagnosed with amnesia, she finds herself taken in by the owner of a struggling local guesthouse and his daughter and soon finds herself drawn to the values of a simple life.
This is a well-trodden formula seen in many other romantic comedies. But what it misses in its originality, it makes up for with heart and happiness. Make sure you check out the cover song for the movie, Jingle Bell Rock, sung by Lindsay herself; if that doesn’t get you in the Christmas spirit, we don’t know what will.
Your Christmas or Mine
Out now, Amazon Prime
Another festive rom com, follow loved-up students James (played by Sex Education’s Asa Butterfield) and Hayley, as they both attempt to surprise the other by visiting their respective childhood homes for the holiday season.
The twist? They get snowed in; which means having to experience each other’s family Christmas without their partner. If you’re after something other than Love Actually to watch this Christmas, this is a decent bet.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Holiday Special
Out now, Disney +
Christmas is coming early this year for the Guardians of the Galaxy. Set after the events of Avenger’s Endgame – and starring Lord, Drax, Mantis, Rocket Raccoon and Nebula – the gang are all trying to cheer up the heartbroken Peter Quill. So, as all cheer-up missions go, Drax and Mantis decide to bring the group to Earth to try and find Kevin Bacon.
This Christmas TV special looks to be another big hit from the Disney studio. It also gives fans a sneak peek at what we may expect from the epic conclusion to the Guardians of the Galaxy movies when Volume 3 comes to cinemas next year.
Scrooge: A Christmas Carol
Out now, Netflix
A Christmas Carol has been adapted countless time over the years – from Mickey Mouse to The Muppets – and now we can enjoy another version of the Charles Dicken’s classic.
This one updates the famous 1970 musical with a supernatural, time travelling twist. On a cold Christmas Eve, we follow selfish miser Ebenezer Scrooge who has one night to face his past and change his future before time runs out…
Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio
Out now, Netflix
Sometimes you’re waiting ages for one film to arrive and then two adaptations come out in the same year. That’s certainly been the case with Guillermo Del Toro’s stop-motion take on Pinocchio for Netflix, (which has been a massive 15 years in the making).
This version is based on the 1883 Italian novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi and is a much darker version of the fairy tale about a puppet made of wood that transforms into a real boy.
An all-star cast of famous faces bring the characters to life, with Ewan McGregor as Sebastian J. Cricket and David Bradley as Geppetto, along with Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard and Lord of The Rings’ Cate Blanchett among many others in supporting roles. We can’t think of a better way to kick start our Christmas TV viewing.
The Smeds and the Smoos
Christmas Day, BBC One
Another Christmas Day and another book adaptation from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffier makes its way to BBC One, this time following a family rivalry between the red Smeds and the blue Smoos.
When young Smed Janet and Smoo Bill escape together, the two families must work together and overcome their differences to find their loved ones.
The Smeds and the Smoos is the 10th Christmas TV adaptation of a Julia Donaldson book, with others including The Gruffalo, Room on a Broom and Stick-Man. It should definitely keep the younger members of the family entertained – and maybe a few of the older ones, too.
Call The Midwife – Christmas Special
Christmas Day, BBC One
The midwives of Nonnatus House are returning to our screens for their annual Christmas TV special.
We’ll see the return of old faces including Helen George (Trixie), Leonie Elliott (Lucille) and Megan Cusack (Nancy), as well as loveable mum Rhoda Mullucks, who last appeared in series five when she was pregnant with baby Susan. Previous specials have taken us to South Africa and the Outer Hebrides, but this year it would seem there’s no place like home…
We can also look forward to the 12th series of Call the Midwife starting in January 2023, so make sure you check out our guide for top TV shows to watch next year to see if it makes the list. Series 11 ended rather dramatically with a train crash, so we can’t wait to see what happens next on Christmas Day…
All Creatures Great and Small – Christmas Special
Christmas Day, Channel 5
This will be the third annual Christmas TV special of Channel 5 adaptation of vet James Herriot’s memoirs, and is a new festive highlight for us.
It’s Christmas in Darrowby, with plenty happening. This time, James, Tristan, Siegfried and the gang are challenged in a world dominated by the Second World War.
Emily in Paris season 3
21st December, Netflix
A year after moving to Paris for her dream job, Emily (Lily Collins), finds herself at a crucial crossroads with her work and her romantic life, forcing her to decide where her future really lies.
All this while continuing to immerse herself in her adventures and the daily twists and turns that life living in Paris provides.
A cult classic.
The Witcher: Blood Origin
Christmas Day, Netflix
If you’re not feeling particularly festive, The Witcher: Blood Origin could be just what you need.
Set 1,200 years before the events of The Witcher, this fantasy drama tells the story of the Elven civilization before it fell. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re into epic fantasy series such as The Wheel of Time, Rings of Power and House of The Dragon, then you should definitely give it a go.
His Dark Materials: Series 3
18th December, BBC One
This is the long-awaited third and final instalment of the His Dark Materials trilogy and is based on the book The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman.
We follow Lord Asriel (James McAvoy) as he builds his army, gathering the best warriors from every world in an attempt to take down The Authority. Lyra is back and so is her mother, Mrs Coulter, as they hide from the Magisterium.
All episodes will be streamed on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from the 18th December – you won’t want to miss them.
Happy Valley: Series 3
New Year’s Day, BBC One
It certainly feels like we’ve been waiting a long time, but the third and final series of Sally Wainwright’s BAFTA-winning drama, Happy Valley, returns to BBC One this Christmas.
The brilliant Sarah Lancashire is back as Sergeant Catherine Cawood who, when investigating a gangland murder, is led back to her old enemy Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton).
Make sure you don’t miss the epic conclusion to the trilogy.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
Out now, BBC One and BBC iPlayer
This Christmas, the bestselling book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy gets the animation treatment. You can be sure audiences will be captivated by the story that brings to life the magic and beautiful illustrations with hand drawn animation.
We follow the unlikely friendship between a boy, a mole, a fox and a horse as they journey together in the search for home. With a voice cast that includes Tom Hollander, Idris Elba, Gabriel Byrne and newcomer Jude Coward Nicoll, this is sure to become a brand new festive classic.