So you have Dr Who (Christmas Day, BBC1) and Sherlock (New Year’s Day, 9pm, BBC1).
Then there are Christmas specials of every quiz, soap and comedy show. There is no shortage of movies.
But here are some gems in the corners of the schedule.
Japanese animation group Studio Ghibli films—Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away—are all on FilmFour a couple of times over the season.
The story of women workers striking against Ford in 1968 is told in Made in Dagenham (10.55pm, New Year’s Eve, BBC4).
Kirk Douglas and Stanley Kubrick take on imperial Rome in the classic epic of a slave revolt Spartacus (Monday 28 December, 4.30pm, ITV4).
For a Christmas Carol there’s no shortage of choice. The best is the Alistair Sim version (Christmas Eve, 5.30pm, Channel Five) with the Muppet Christmas Carol (Christmas Day, 2.55pm, ITV1) a close second.
Evil bankers and a liberal history of the early 20th century US make It’s a Wonderful Life (Christmas Eve, 2.15pm, Channel 4). The tale of debt, redemption and angels is better than its schmaltzy reputation.
Hitchcock‘s Dial M for Murder (Christmas Eve, 11.30pm, BBC2) has a romping plot and a slimy villain—if the compulsory cheer is too much.
There’s Cromwell (Sunday 27 December, 11.45am, Channel 5) as an antidote to the queen’s speech.
And if the jingoism of a country at war gets too much, try Zulu Dawn (Boxing Day, 5.55pm, 5USA) for a humiliating defeat for the British Empire.