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11 best Christmas shows to stream over the festive period

Here are our all-time favourite Christmas TV watches

Ralf Little in Death in Paradise Xmas special
Emmy Griffiths
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
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Christmas movies are all well and good, but let’s face it, they only last two hours max! For those wanting to get into the festive spirit with some TV shows, we have got you totally covered. From cute Netflix rom-com set at Christmas to a selection of quintessentially British shows to enjoy, here are our top picks for festive shows to watch… 

Dash and Lily - Netflix 

A romantic comedy set at Christmas - we love to see it! Forget a one-off Christmas special, Dash and Lily is an entire season focused on festive fun. The story follows a whirlwind festive romance as cynical Dash and optimistic Lily meet and trade their thoughts in the notebook that they pass back and forth all across New York City. We’re feeling festive already! 

WATCH: Netflix's Dash & Lily's trailer - do you want to watch it?

How to Ruin Christmas - Netflix

With two seasons of this delightful Christmas caper, the story follows Tumi and her family at Christmastime. The season two synopsis reads: "Looking forward to a quiet Christmas this time around, family rebel and black sheep, Tumi Sello’s plans get ruined, and so does Christmas when a death affecting the Sello and Twala families sees her guilt-tripped into helping with the planning of a Christmas funeral. 

"When the funeral planning goes pear-shaped, all judgmental eyes fall on Tumi, and once again, she has to spend the next couple days trying to clear hers and the Sello's name by saving a Christmas funeral from absolute disaster." 

Home for Christmas - Netflix 

There are two seasons of this festive show that follows Johanne as tries to find eternal, warm, and real love at Christmas. When her family and the world around her fall apart, can she still believe in true and everlasting love? Does it even exist and will she find the one for Christmas this year? (We think the answer is probably yes, but we’re here for the ride)! 

Will you be watching Home for Christmas?
Will you be watching Home for Christmas?

Merry Happy Whatever - Netflix 

Set during the happy but hectic days before and after Christmas, Dennis Quaid stars as Don Quinn, who is doing his best to balance holiday stress with the demands of his close-knit family. However, when his daughter Emmy arrives home with a new boyfriend, struggling musician Matt, Don’s belief that 'there’s the Quinn way… and the wrong way' is put to the test.

Merry Happy Whatever with Dennis Quaid© Greg Gayne
Merry Happy Whatever with Dennis Quaid

Community - Hulu/Netflix 

Community is a show that loved having some fun with Christmas specials during its six-season run, but where to start? Our top two favourites have to be Regional Holiday Music, which follows the study group as they all become brainwashed into starring in the school’s holiday pageant through a series of hilarious songs, and Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas, where Abed finds himself and his friends in stop-motion animated - and is the only one who can save them (by discovering the true meaning of Christmas, of course). 

Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas on Community
Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas on Community

Black Mirror: White Christmas - Netflix 

If you’re opting for a darker, more terrifying Christmas experience this year, you can’t go wrong with Black Mirror’s White Christmas episode, which follows two men in a remote cabin sharing stories - before you quickly realize that there is more to this cozy Christmas conversation than what meets the eye. You’ll never listen to I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day in the same way again after this. 

Jon Hamm in White Christmas on Black Mirror© Netflix
Jon Hamm in White Christmas on Black Mirror

Quintessential British Christmas shows to watch 

Downton Abbey 

Downton Abbey always thrived with their Christmas specials, because there is nothing more magical than a period drama at Christmas, right? Of course, fans of the show will know that terrible things also befall the characters during the Christmas episodes - be it that Julian Fellowes just loved bringing us some holiday devastation, or the actor’s contracts are about to run out - who knows!  

Lady Sybil Crawley giving birth in Downton Abbey© HBO
Lady Sybil Crawley giving birth in Downton Abbey

Death in Paradise 

Since introducing Christmas specials a couple of years ago, there’s nothing we love more than seeing that festive murder befalls the island of St Marie at Christmastime - particularly thanks to the hijinks of the police team around that time. Marlon dressed as a Christmas elf? The Commissioner with some Christmas cheer? What’s not to love!

Ralf Little as DI Neville Parker and Don Warrington as Commisioner Selwyn Patterson in Death In Paradise Christmas Special © Denis Guyenon
Ralf Little as DI Neville Parker and Don Warrington as Commisioner Selwyn Patterson in Death In Paradise Christmas Special

The Office UK 

This has to be one of the most iconic Christmas specials of all time, and we love to see it. The two-part special of the UK version of The Office has it all; amazing payoff, triumphs for our favorite characters, a glimmer of hope for lost causes - and probably the best use of Only You by Yazoo ever. 

Best Christmas jumpers for women - at a glance

  1. Stylish brands to visit: Marks & Spencer, Next and Boden have amazing jumpers. Scroll down for our favourite stylish knits
  2. Classy Christmas jumper for ladies: It's all about the pretty bows. This Monsoon Christmas jumper is so chic
  3. Designer Christmas jumper brand: We dream of one day owning a Chinti & Parker Christmas jumper
  4. Amazon first choice: We love this Santa-inspired one
  5. Supermarket must-have: Tu at Sainsbury's
  6. Funny festive knit: We love this Disney 'Grumpy' Christmas jumper
  7. Light-up Christmas jumper: Fancy a glow in the dark Christmas jumper? NotOnTheHighStreet has some great unisex options
  8. Plus-size option for women: Yours Clothing has a fabulous slogan jumper available in sizes 14 - 32.

Gavin and Stacey

If you have never watched Gavin and Stacey, you’re seriously missing out. The British show that made James Corden a household name follows Essex-based Gavin and Welsh Stacey as they embark on a long-distance relationship, throwing their chaotic families into the mix. The Christmas special is full of hilarious and sweet moments from the Shipman and West families - and ends with a cliffhanger so good that it left the UK in hysterics on Christmas Day in 2019. 

gavin and stacey xmas© Photo: BBC
The series returned in 2019 with a Christmas special

Last Tango in Halifax 

After meeting and falling in love all over again 60 years after they had a crush on one another as teenagers, Celia and Alan, and their respective families, are spending Christmas with one another as we get a check-in on their lives, from Caroline’s new role as the headteacher of a questionable school, to Gillian’s struggles with married life. Since it’s Christmas, there’s also an edge of Dickensian ghost stories, with the gang trying to communicate with the 'spirits' in Caroline’s 'haunted' house with an Ouija board, while Celia gets involved in the local am-dram production of Blythe Spirit. Enjoy!

last tango derek
Last Tango's Christmas specials are available on BBC iPlayer