Holiday television specials are as necessary as ever this year, bringing some much-needed comfort during unprecedented times. Massachusetts networks will offer a full slate of holiday programming through the end of the year.
Below is the holiday broadcast schedule for local networks. If you’re a network representative wishing to be listed, email [email protected]
Ask the Expert: Holiday Baking
Friday, December 4 at noon ET
Virtual event: https://www.wgbh.org/events/ask-the-expert-holiday-baking-virtual
Connect with our expert, Sarah Belisle from Union Square Donuts, former contestant on Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship at GBH’s next Ask The Expert event. Bring your questions and learn more at this free event on how you can make your holidays sweet.
WCRB In Concert with Boston Camerata and the Skylark Ensemble
Sunday, December 6 at 7pm ET
CRB Classical 99.5
Performances by two of Boston’s vibrant vocal ensembles bring both the traditional and the exploratory as the Skylark Ensemble sings music based in Britain’s Lessons and Carols services, and Boston Camerata sings Hispanic Christmas music in a program called “La Estrella.”
GBH Holiday Auction
Daily through Thursday December 10
Virtual event: https://www.wgbh.org/events/gbh-holiday-auction-virtual
Start your holiday shopping early this year with the GBH Holiday Auction (11/6-12/10). We’ve made shopping simple and SAFE thanks to the tireless efforts of GBH volunteers and generous donations from local businesses. Every winning bid helps fund GBH programming. Register to bid here and make sure to visit auction.wgbh.org to see what we have to offer this year. Items up for bid include a New England Patriots football signed by Julian Edelman; a handheld microphone signed by Josh Groban; event tickets and museum passes; exclusive virtual experiences with GBH Radio and TV personalities; a This Old House 40th Anniversary Package; a baseball autographed by Xander Bogaerts from the Red Sox; an 8-Day Historic South and Golden Isles Cruise for two from American Cruise Lines; gorgeous jewelry; beautiful artwork; New England getaways; gift cards to restaurants and family attractions and so much more.
Stories from the Stage: Holiday Story Slam
Thursday, December 10 at 7:30pm ET
Virtual event: https://www.wgbh.org/events/stories-from-the-stage-holidays-story-slam
Join us on Thursday December 10, 2020 for a special edition of Stories from the Stage. In true storytelling slam style, six storytellers will be selected by random drawing to perform a five to seven minute story on their best/worst/weirdest Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/New Year’s Eve ever! Then YOU get to vote for your favorite. A People’s Choice winner will be declared at the end of the evening.
Yo-Yo Ma and Emmanuel Ax: Complete Beethoven Cello and Piano Sonatas
Friday, December 11 at 8am, 2pm and 8pm ET
Saturday, December 12 at 8am, 2pm and 8pm ET
Sunday, December 13 at 8am, 2pm and 8pm ET
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emanuel Ax are performing the complete Beethoven cello and piano sonatas on December 11, 12 and 13 in collaboration with classical music streaming app Idagio. The performance celebrates the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.
WCRB In Concert with the Boston Pops!
Sunday, December 13 at 7pm ET
CRB Classical 99.5
WCRB’s Ron Della Chiesa takes you to Symphony Hall for Pops performances led by Keith Lockhart that reflect themes of joy and comfort through traditional carols, Pops classics, and a visit from a cheerful fellow with a white beard and a red suit!
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Sunday, December 13 at 7:30pm ET
Peanuts fans will have even more ways to watch Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang on their holiday adventures as Apple and PBS team up for a special, ad free broadcast of A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Christmas with the Tabernacle Choir
Monday, December 14 at 9pm ET
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square is a world-renowned, 360-member choir that has traveled around the world becoming an international music sensation. Each year renowned and talented guest stars make the show an unforgettable experience.
A Virtual Christmas Celtic Sojourn
Tuesday, December 15 at 7:30pm ET, The VETS/Providence
Wednesday, December 16 at 7:30pm ET, Hanover Theatre/Worcester
Thursday, December 17 at 7:30pm ET, Zeiteron Theatre/New Bedford
Friday, December 18 at 7:30pm ET, Shalin Liu Performance Center/Rockport
Saturday, December 19 at 7:30pm ET, Cutler Majestic Theatre/Boston
Sunday, December 20 at 4pm ET, GBH Studios/Boston
Virtual event: https://www.wgbh.org/events/a-christmas-celtic-sojourn
A New England holiday tradition, A Christmas Celtic Sojourn, hosted by GBH’s Brian O’Donovan, takes the festive variety show virtual for 2020. With a roster of talented dancers, singers and musicians from across the Celtic world, A Virtual Christmas Celtic Sojourn will bring comfort and joy to viewers at the darkest time of year. A Virtual Christmas Celtic Sojourn has partnered with many of the venues that would normally present the holiday shows, with a unique performance being presented virtually for each audience. A portion of every ticket purchased will go to the specific partner theater. O’Donovan will introduce artists and share some of his favorite poems and stories. Each show will be live-streamed in real time, but will also be available on-demand from December 21 until January 2, 2021 for those who purchase tickets.
A Christmas Celtic Sojourn
Friday, December 18 at 9pm ET
A Christmas Celtic Sojourn is an on-stage gathering to celebrate light in Celtic style during the darkest time of the year. Each December, the show draws on Celtic, Pagan, and Christian traditions to celebrate the season. Hosted by Brian O’Donovan, and featuring some of the finest singers, dancers, and musicians from around the Celtic world, this television program was recorded in 2019 in front of a sold-out audience at the historic Cutler Majestic Theatre in downtown Boston.
Ella Wishes You A Swingin’ Christmas
Friday, December 18 at 10pm ET
In collaboration with the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation, the American Pops Orchestra presents an evening celebrating the entire iconic album of holiday classics, “Ella Wishes You a Swingin’ Christmas.” This 60-minute performance stars Vanessa Williams (as host and vocalist) with appearances by Dee Dee Bridgwater, Norm Lewis, Carmen Ruby Floyd, Nova Payton and Jon Batiste. Additionally, this special incorporates segments on Ella’s life and career.
Holiday Cooking Show Marathon
Saturday, December 19 from 12pm to 7pm ET
A marathon of holiday cooking specials including: Nigella’s Table; Lidia Celebrates America: A Holiday Heartland Feast; America’s Test Kitchen: Home for the Holidays and The Great British Baking Show’s Christmas Masterclass.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra
Saturday, December 19 at 8pm
CRB Classical 99.5
Timeless music of the season comes to life in BSO performances of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and Stravinsky’s take on Bach’s variations on an Advent hymn, both led by Seiji Ozawa, as well as a classic recording of the beautiful “Shepherd’s Farewell” from Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ, led by Charles Munch.
Handel’s Messiah for Our Time
Sunday, December 20 at 7pm ET
The special holiday concert, produced in partnership with the Handel and Haydn Society, will include Part I of Messiah and the iconic Hallelujah Chorus. The production was made possible by an incredible innovation in art and technology. With the need to follow strict state COVID protocols, using robotic cameras and special recording techniques, the TV shoot and audio recording had to be done in several shifts, using both the GBH Fraser Performance and Calderwood Studios. All H+H performers wore masks at all times, with singers using masks specially designed to prevent spread during performances. This will also air Monday, December 21 at 8pm ET on Classical 99.5.
Call the Midwife Holiday Special 2020
Friday, December 25 at 9pm ET
This year’s Christmas special is set in December 1965. Everyone at Nonnatus House is looking forward to a traditional Christmas, but things don’t go to plan. Poor Sister Monica Joan is rushed to hospital, while Trixie is angry to receive a subscription to a Marriage Bureau as a Christmas gift! Meanwhile, the Circus arrives in Poplar, there’s an exciting adventure for Nurse Crane and Shelagh is involved in a deeply moving birth.
Julia Child Marathon
Saturday, December 26 from 11:30am to 7pm ET
15 back-to-back episodes that spotlight television’s most celebrated chef. Watch select airings of The French Chef interspersed with Dishing with Julia Child, a series that features popular chefs and celebrities from today who offer funny and insightful comments in unabashed appreciation for the first lady of cooking. Bon appetit!