Let’s face it: The holiday season unleashes some of the worst of everything, from cheesy renditions of holiday songs to marathons of movies involving curiously high numbers of adults who (SPOILER ALERT) still believe in Santa.
But we do things differently here at NPT. We’ve spiked our schedule with enough holiday programming to lift your spirits as you prepare for the season, adding in the gift of music programs and—because you’ve been good this year—wrapping up with seasonal specials celebrating some of your favorite shows.
Here’s a list (check it twice) of our programming treats this season, including Christmas at Belmont, Call the Midwife and Sherlock.
Keith & Kristyn Getty: Joy, an Irish Christmas is an evening of carols, hymns and energetic Irish reels. Premieres Saturday, Dec. 5, at 8:30 p.m.; also airs 1:30 p.m. Christmas Day on NPT2.
The annual Christmas at Belmont concert showcases Belmont University student ensembles along with guest performers. Hosted by Grammy Award-winning artist Kathy Mattea, this year’s show was recorded at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, and will once again be broadcast nationwide on PBS. Premieres Monday, Dec. 21, at 9 p.m. We’re offering quite a few opportunities to see this program, including Thursday, Dec. 24, at 8 p.m. Check our schedule at http://www.wnpt.org/schedule/ for more times.
Muppets and Mormons? This may be a first. Sesame Street’s Muppets join the singing from Temple Square in Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Featuring Santino Fontana. Premieres Monday, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m.; also airs Christmas Eve at 9 p.m.
New Year’s Eve with NPT starts with Live from Lincoln Center and Alan Gilbert leading the New York Philharmonic in La Vie Parisienne, an evening of works by Ravel, Offenbach and Saint-Saens. New Year’s Eve at 8 p.m.
End 2015 with Michael Feinstein New Year’s Eve at the Rainbow Room, featuring Tony Award-winner Christine Ebersole, Jessica Sanchez (American Idol) and tap duo the Manzari Brothers and others. New Year’s Eve at 11 p.m.
Welcome 2016 with a PBS/Great Performances tradition, the annual New Year’s Day Celebration from Vienna. Julie Andrews hosts this concert with the Vienna Philharmonic (lead by guest conductor Mariss Jansons) and performances by the Vienna Boys Choir and the Vienna State Ballet. Premieres New Year’s Day at 6:30 p.m.
Lidia Bastianich introduces six of her friends (actors, a fellow chef, a journalist) and recipes from their multicultural backgrounds in Lidia Celebrates America: Home for the Holidays. Premieres Friday, Dec. 11, at 8 p.m.
Move beyond holiday basics when Craft in America: Celebration, highlights handmade holiday items from gingerbread masterpieces to Tex-Mex traditions to elaborate menorahs. Premieres Friday, Dec. 11, at 9 p.m.
Being home for the holidays is lovely; being in Europe for the holidays can be fantastic, as you’ll see in Rick Steves Special: European Christmas. This festive program takes viewers to England, Europe and Scandinavia. Airs Saturday, Dec. 5 at 11:30 a.m. and Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m.
Chef Vivian Howard blends Southern classics and Jewish traditions in the A Chef’s Life Holiday Special. Airs Friday, Dec. 25, at 7 p.m.
While you might expect a holiday-themed episode of Frontline to uncover unfair labor conditions in toy factories or the cutthroat world of Time Square Santas, this Frontline two-parter is the award-winning documentary From Jesus to Christ. The First Christians. Part 1 airs Monday, Dec. 14, at 11:02 p.m.; part 2 airs Monday, Dec. 21, also at 11 p.m.
This year a PBS viewer favorite comes with a big red bow: The Call the Midwife Holiday Special! It’s Christmas 1960 and the nuns and sisters at Nonnatus House are contending with the usual maternity ward surprises along with the excitement of a live TV broadcast of Poplar’s annual Christmas concert. Premieres Friday, Dec. 25, at 8 p.m.
Watch for holiday episodes of perennials Keeping Up Appearances and the Lawrence Welk Show, Saturday, Dec. 19 and 26. We’ll also re-air the Vicious holiday special, Friday, Dec. 25, at 9:30 p.m.
Do you think we’d let this season go by without a nod to the Nutcracker Ballet? Getting to the Nutcracker is a behind-the-curtains look at one company’s production, from auditions to rehearsals to performance. The documentary airs Friday, Dec. 25, at 11 p.m., just in time to fill your dreams with visions of sugarplum fairies.
Finally, start the new year with a new Sherlock on Masterpiece! The Abominable Bride stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson in Victorian times. Premieres New Year’s Day at 8 and re-airs Sunday, Jan. 10, at 9 p.m.
Happy holidays from NPT!