Updated December 19
In December, as the days get shorter and the nights get colder, what better time to snuggle in and feast on a host of holiday television treats, courtesy of THIRTEEN, your hometown PBS station? THIRTEEN is ready to celebrate with holiday music specials, a Call the Midwife holiday episode marathon, and other feel-good programs to make your December merry and bright. This is the schedule of December holiday shows on broadcast, followed by some holiday theme programs that you can stream any time.
A Classic Christmas
Sunday, December 1, 11 p.m.
Need a little Christmas right this very minute? Join hosts Gavin MacLeod (The Love Boat) and Marion Ross (Happy Days) for A Classic Christmas , an all-star celebration of favorite holiday songs performed by Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Nat King Cole, Rosemary Clooney, The Carpenters, and more.
Pete Seeger Tribute: Woody’s Children 50th Anniversary
Tuesday, December 3 at 9:30 p.m.
Folk singer and activist Pete Seeger (1919 – 2014) would have turned 100 on May 3, 2019. On what would have been his 100th birthday, Seeger’s favorite musicians perform his most beloved songs in tribute to him and the 50th anniversary of the nation’s longest-running folk radio program, “Woody’s Children,” which Seeger named his show. Bob Sherman hosts the sold-out concert at Symphony Space in New York, which featured musicians such as Peter Yarrow and Holly Near (subject of the documentary American Masters: Holly Near – Singing for Our Lives).
Hip Hop Nutcracker at NJPAC: An ALL ARTS Presentation
Saturday, December 7, 7 p.m.
A holiday mash-up for the whole family. Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, The Hip Hop Nutcracker is a contemporary dance spectacle set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless music. A unique and joyful event, this evening-length production is performed by a supercharged cast of a dozen all-star dancers, a DJ, a violinist, and MC Kurtis Blow, one of hip hop’s founding fathers. You can also stream this program now.
This film will also be presented by THIRTEEN at a free, public screening at the Bronx Library Center on Monday, December 2 at 6:30 p.m. The film will be followed by a talk with Jennifer Weber.
Call the Midwife Holiday Special Marathon
Sunday, December 8, 8 p.m.-12:15 a.m.
Call the Midwife fans can binge watch four past Christmas episodes in our Call the Midwife Holiday Special Marathon. Three of the four episodes repeat between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. that night.
Note: You can find Linda Bassett (nurse Phyllis Crane) in a new streaming series on THIRTEEN: four seasons of the British series From Lark Rise to Candleford are available to THIRTEEN Passport members. In this wholesome drama set in the late 19th century, Bassett plays an herbalist and beekeeper among an ensemble cast.
Christmas Carols With Lucy Worsley
Thursday, December 12, 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, December 14 at 7 p.m.
British historian Lucy Worsley serves up a fascinating slice of Christmas history in Christmas Carols With Lucy Worsley. She’ll be back on Christmas night with and Lucy Worsley’s 12 Days of Tudor Christmas (see below).
Worsley is a curator at the Historic Royal Palaces in the United Kingdom and has also shared her expertise in other PBS programs, currently streaming for THIRTEEN members with the member benefit THIRTEEN Passport: Victoria & Albert: The Wedding; Tales from the Royal Bedchamber; Tales from the Royal Wardrobe; and Secrets of the Six Wives (Henry VIII’s wives).
Il Volo: Ten Years
Thursday, December 12, 9:30 p.m.
International superstars Il Volo perform their greatest hits and songs from their new album in a concert from the ancient city of Matera, Italy, in Il Volo: Ten Years. The operatic pop trio’s members are baritone Gianluca Ginoble, and tenors Piero Barone and Ignazio Boschetto.
Christmas With the Tabernacle Choir
Monday, December 16, 9 p.m.; Saturday, December 21 at 7 p.m.
Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth joins a 600-person strong cast composed of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, Orchestra at Temple Square and Bells on Temple Square for a night of Christmas celebration through music, dance and storytelling. Songs will include a mix of classic Christmas carols and festive hits from across a number of genres: Broadway, pop, country, classical and Christian/gospel.
“This Christmas concert is part of my history, part of my DNA, and it was a bucket list item of mine for a long time, so I am very honored and grateful for this experience,” says Chenoweth. “It is music and professionalism at the highest level–it could be a Broadway show. I have been so fortunate to perform in a lot of amazing places, but this is a Top 3 moment for me in my career and something I will never forget.”
Hanukkah: A Festival of Delights
Sunday, December 22, 2 p.m.
Spin the dreidel, fry the latkes, and join William Shatner, Lainie Kazan, and others for Hanukkah: A Festival of Delights .
Christmas at Belmont
Monday, December 23, 9 p.m.
Hosted by CeCe Winans and Michael W. Smith, this program celebrates the holiday season and the musical diversity of Belmont University’s School of Music in Nashville, Tennessee. Nearly 700 student musicians join the Belmont School of Music faculty and the Nashville Children’s Choir, to present this production of traditional carols, classical masterworks, world music and light-hearted seasonal favorites. Stream the program after December 23.
Lucy Worsley’s 12 Days of Tudor Christmas
Wednesday, December 25, 8 p.m.
Join royal historian Lucy Worsley as she explores the rituals and riches of the 12-day holiday as it was celebrated during the reign of King Henry VIII. She discovers that much of what we enjoy in contemporary Christmas — from carols to turkey, gift-giving to mistletoe and mulled wine — has surprising Tudor origins, rooted in devotion and charity. If you crave more Tudor life in your holiday, stream Secrets of the Six Wives, a docu-drama hosted by Worsley.
Call the Midwife Holiday Special
Wednesday, December 25, 9 p.m.
The nurses and midwives of Nonnatus House are back in a new Call the Midwife Holiday Special, which follows the team to the Outer Hebrides, a remote Scottish island, as they help residents in desperate need of medical care.
Perry Como Classics: Till the End of Time
Friday, December 27, 9 p.m.
Join hosts Peter Marshall and Nick Clooney for Perry Como Classics: Till the End of Time, featuring celebrity tributes from Carol Burnett, Regis Philbin, Jay Leno and others, plus highlights from long-lost episodes of the beloved singer’s classic TV series. Como was an American singer, actor and television personality whose career lasted more than half a century. He was the recipient five Emmys, shared a Peabody Award with his friend Jackie Gleason in 1956, and, posthumously, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. He was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1987.
Como’s final Christmas special, Perry Como’s Irish Christmas, was filmed in Dublin and aired on PBS in 1994.
Live From Lincoln Center – New Year’s Eve 2019: A Sondheim Celebration
Sunday, December 31, 8 p.m.
Ring in the new year with New York Philharmonic at the New Year’s Eve 2019: A Sondheim Celebration a Live From Lincoln Center special featuring Tony winner Katrina Lenk (The Band’s Visit, Company with Patti LuPone). Hear suites from “Sunday in the Park,” “Into the Woods,” “Sweeney Todd,” and more.
From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2020
Wednesday, January 1, 2:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Though not taking place in December, this annual concert is natural to include in a holiday line-up. Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville hosts From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2020 . The annual Vienna Philharmonic concert from Great Performances, filmed at Vienna’s opulent Musikverein, showcases beloved Strauss waltzes, the dancing of the Vienna City Ballet, and the sights of Vienna, the capital of Austria.
Holiday Shows Streaming Now
I Remember Television: The Ruggles and Dragnet Christmas Episodes
Do the holidays make you nostalgic for old television shows? From fellow PBS station, I Remember Television presents shows from the golden age of television. In a double-header Christmas special, the classics paired are The Ruggles and Dragnet.
First comes a classic Christmas Eve episode of The Ruggles from 1949. The Ruggles clan decides to do something nice for Sharon’s classmate, Elaine, whose father recently died. They prepare a lavish meal and take to her house on Christmas Eve, but discover that she’s quite happy and a great singer, to boot. Next, the police detectives of Dragnet must track down the theft of a baby Jesus from a church’s nativity display in Los Angeles. Stream now.
Rick Steves European Christmas
In this special from 2018, join travel writer and host Rick Steves as he celebrates the holiday’s rich history while exploring the sights and sounds of celebrations in Bath (England), Paris (France), Oslo (Norway), and Burgundy (France), as well as the timeless traditions of Nürnberg (Germany), Salzburg (Austria), and Tuscany (Italy). Stream now.
Hip Hop Nutcracker at NJPAC: An ALL ARTS Presentation
A holiday mash-up for the whole family. Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, The Hip Hop Nutcracker is a contemporary dance spectacle set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless music. A unique and joyful event, this evening-length production is performed by a supercharged cast of a dozen all-star dancers, a DJ, a violinist, and MC Kurtis Blow, one of hip hop’s founding fathers. Stream now.