5 Emotions You Feel When Watching Classic Christmas Specials

How our vintage Christmas shows might inspire and tickle you – even if you’re still groggily recovering from a festive food coma.

Keeping Up Appearances


This is the big one. That warm, buzzy feeling of nostalgia that makes it feel like you're day-dreaming on a hammock on a summer afternoon - even if you're actually on a sofa in the depths of winter. Who'd have thought Keeping Up Appearances could have that effect? Yet, strangely, it really does. Your younger self would probably never have imagined it, but the sight of Hyacinth saying "The Bouqueeeeet residence, the lady of the house speaking!" will make you go all misty-eyed for the 1990s like nothing else. But why stop there? Lovejoy will also give you a woozy mental flashback to that carefree, bygone era. Or you can embark on even more time travel: catch some sketches of The Two Ronnies and suddenly it's 1987 all over again, and you're so young you could cry. Don't cry, though. It's Christmas!


By "joy" we really mean "laughter", but laughter isn't technically an emotion, so joy it is. The joy of seeing Ronnie Barker as a saucy cabaret star, or both of the Ronnies getting their red and whites on to play Santas "singing in stereo" (while also doubling as two cheeky green elves). The joy of Onslow saying "Oh nice!" while Daisy giggles at a Mills & Boon in the background. The joy of Sharon, Tracey and Dorien going on a madcap dash around Hollywood. And the joy of Sister Monica Joan trying to explain why the delicious macaroons are mysteriously disappearing in Call the Midwife. "Almonds are mercurial." Ah yes, that explains it.

Miranda Hart in Call The Midwife

Miranda Hart in Call The Midwife


A touch of melancholy can make the festive season all the more poignant and memorable. That could be why the best Christmas songs have an undertow of wistful sadness, and why we love a bit of Dickens with his tales of hope in the face of hardship. The Call the Midwife Christmas special will certainly have your eyes welling up, as the brave women help the people of Poplar - including an old lady haunted by the loss of her daughters, and a teenager who is forced to give birth alone in the cold. It's enough to make even the grumpiest Ebenezer come over a bit teary. Just have a mince pie to make yourself feel better.


Some of these specials may be comfortingly familiar, but that's not to say there's not the odd surprise in store. For example, you might have you thought Hyacinth's posh sister Violet - the one with the Mercedes, sauna and room for a pony - was a permanently unseen character in Keeping Up Appearances. Not a bit of it! You'll glimpse this semi-mythical sibling in one of the Christmas specials. Other surprises in store include seeing Ronnie Corbett as a meticulously made-up Pinocchio (he's so convincing it's actually disturbing), and Lovejoy having unlikely hi-jinks in the United States. With a lady called Lovejoy, no less.


If you can't be unashamedly sentimental at Christmas, when can you? And there's plenty of lovey-dovey loveliness to be had with To The Manor Born - whether you dip into Audrey and Richard's heyday with the 70s-set Christmas special, or the heartwarming reunion episode from 2007, in which the couple celebrate their silver wedding anniversary. Call the Midwife will also have you feeling the love of friendship and togetherness, while even poor hapless Tracey has a glint in her eye and a possible new love interest in Birds of a Feather. Let's hope nobody tells Darryl...