Christmas - the perfect time to pop on your onesie and slip in front of the TV. And there's certainly plenty to feast your eyes on this year.
Ah the soaps at Christmas! How they fill us with festive cheer... Or at least make our families feel normal. Whatever your soap of choice, once you've revelled in the tragedy/ affair/ murder/ arrest/ disastrous wedding/ apocalypse, you'll find plenty of sentimental dramas in which to recover.
For a dash of the sweet stuff, Doctor Who returns on Christmas Day (BBC1, 5:15pm) to another snow-filled Dickensian scene. This year it's the turn of the snowmen – an army of evil snowmen. They force the Doctor out of mourning to save humanity.
To really bathe in a blast of sugar, then Call The Midwife also reappears later on Christmas Day (BBC1, 7:30pm).
If you are getting fed up with how it always snowing in television land, then you could switch on Downton Abbey (ITV1, 8:45pm). Their Christmas special isn't actually set at Christmas, but in the summer, as the Lords and Ladies head to the Highlands. Meanwhile the staff remain in Yorkshire, thinking about the exciting prospect of the Thirsk County Fair.
Michelle Dockery, who play Downton’s Mary, will also appear in Restless on the 27th-28th of December (BBC1, 9pm). The adaptation of William Boyd’s thrilling WWII espionage novel also stars Charlotte Rampling and Rufus Sewell. Dockery’s character discovers that her mother was a wartime spy who has been on the run for almost 40 years.
Amongst the festive sprinkling of one-off dramas is The Girl (BBC2, Boxing Day, 9pm). Sienna Miller plays Tippi Hedren in this dramatisation of Alfred Hitchcock's obsession with actress Tippi Hedren during the making of the film The Birds.
Comedy drama Doors Open is over on ITV1 at the same time. All that is clear is that it involves an art heist. With a cast including Stephen Fry and with a script based on a novel by Ian Rankin, it looks promising!
Miranda is back! Huzzah! It's what I call 'a comedy cracker'. Find her on Boxing Day and New Year's Day (BBC1, 9pm).
There are a few other favourites to watch out for: Friday Night Dinner returns to the Goodman house for a Christmas special on Christmas Eve (C4, 10:30pm). Catch up with happenings in the Brockman famil with Outnumbered (BBC1, 9:35). And after missing their festive slot last year, The Royle Family is back (BBC1, Christmas Day, 9:45pm).
Joanna Lumley's off in search of Noah's Ark (ITV1, Sunday 23rd December). Sue Perkins has quite another question of faith to investigate: her belief in the story of the Von Trapps – a.k.a The Sound of Music family.
Nobody does charismatic Christmas documentaries like Sue Perkins. If you didn't catch Mrs Dicken's Family Christmas last year, then you missed out. In Climbed Every Mountain (BBC2, Saturday 29th of December, 8:15pm). Perkin’s wipes away the merry myth of Maria Von Trapp and the loving siblings, immortalised on our television screens every Christmas, to uncover a darker truth.
Christmas Movie Musts
You're never too old for The Snowman. So this year everybody is in for a treat, with the long-awaited sequel!
They've been broadcasting the original since its 1982 debut, and now it's original creator Raymond Briggs has given the go-ahead for a brand new version. They've retained the hand-drawn images and introduced a new canine character. It looks set to be the most magical moment to hit our televisions over Christmas.
The Snowman and The Snowdog airs on C4, Christmas Eve, 8pm – exactly 30 years after the original was broadcast.
Elsewhere, there's a brilliant range of films being broadcast across the festive period. There’s everything from classics like Gone With The Wind and Singing In The Rain, to great modern movies like Cold Mountain, with hundreds of kids favourites in between.
My picks of the children’s flicks would have to be Tangled (ITV1, Christmas Day, 3:10pm) and Up (BBC1, New Year's Day, 6:30pm). The original Swedish versions of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo will be broadcast Boxing Day (C4, 10:30pm), with the two sequels aired on the following nights.
An acquired taste
And finally, I couldn't let you return to your Christmas baking and present wrapping without mentioning these televisual offerings. Like Brussel Sprouts, you'll either be overjoyed or spit them out in disgust.
Gordon's Christmas Cookalong Live (C4, 10am, Christmas Day). Yes, on Christmas Day! Sounds like a disaster to me, but if you're crazy enough to add another cook to the kitchen...
That Dog Can Dance (ITV1, Boxing Day, 8pm). I'm afraid it is what you think. An X-Factor for dogs. The only consolation is that it's a one-off.
Paul O'Grady: For The Love Of Dogs At Christmas (ITV1, 6pm, Christmas Day). Dancing dogs are a massive no for me. But this programme is a real charmer. Honestly! A surprise hit in 2012, ITV are definitely making the most of it.
Spice Girls' Story: Viva Forever! (ITV1, Christmas Eve, 8:30pm). We all need a good sing-along...
Swan Lake (BBC4, Christmas Day, 8pm). Introduced by Darcey Bussell, The Kirov Ballet perform from the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg. It will be magical Christmas viewing for some and a saccharine nightmare for others!
Images: Doctor who via BBC/Adrian Roberts, Restless via BBC/Endor Productions, Miranda via BBC, The Sound of Music via Twentieth Century Fox, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo via Allstar/NORDISK FILM/Sportsphot Ltd.