The Best Christmas TV Traditions

1. The Hollywood Blockbuster

All that religious and ‘goodwill to all men’ nonsense aside, Christmas is a time for sitting on the sofa and watching a great big film. This year’s best offering is the wonderful The Fellowship of the Ring (Channel 4, 6PM, Christmas Day). Our advice would be to crack open a bottle of sherry, get comfortable, and go in for the long haul. After all, nothing says ‘Christmas’ like Hobbits.

In the age where we can access any film online in a few seconds, sitting down at a scheduled time to watch something adds some reassuring order to the season.

2. Doctor Who

Whether you’re a squealing teenage fangirl or not, you can’t deny that Doctor Who has cemented itself as a Christmas highlight since its revival in 2005. Maybe all the murderous aliens and apocalyptic scenes make us value our festive cosiness all the more. Then again, maybe I’m reading too much into it.

All I know is, I’m a straight male and I find Matt Smith strangely attractive. This Christmas is going to be a confusing one.

3. The Epic Documentary

New Year’s Day is going to be dominated by Galapagos, naturalist titan David Attenborough’s latest documentary (Sky1, 7PM, New Year’s Day). It’s a masterstroke of TV scheduling, because everyone knows that other than a fry-up and a Bloody Mary, an Attenborough documentary is the greatest hangover cure there is. Be careful that it doesn’t bring on a bout of seasonal depression, however. Watching beautifully-shot scenes of exotic destinations and incredible animals while sat in a messy house, nursing a grade-5 migraine, may really make you question your choices in life.

4. The Queen’s Speech

In many ways, The Queen’s Speech is perfect Christmas TV. Even though the Monarchy is a fairly divisive topic in the UK, the Christmas Message still has something for everyone. Monarchists can fill themselves with Nationalistic fervour by singing along to the God Save the Queen and saluting the screen, and Republicans can amuse themselves by throwing Quality Street wrappers at the TV, before theatrically changing the channel in disgust. What’s not to love?

5. Animation

Whether it’s Wallace and Gromit, The Snowman, or this year’s premiere of A Christmas Carol (BBC1, 6.45PM, Christmas Eve), some form of animation always seems to put a smile on everyone’s face at Christmas. It always helps when the animation itself is slightly sub-standard as well. I don’t think A Grand Day Out would be half as charming if you couldn’t occasionally spy an animator’s fingerprint in the back of Gromit’s head. No-one’s quite sure why animation and Yuletide go so well together, but whatever the reason, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without claymation.