Best Christmas TV for kids in 2021 – your guide to what to watch

There are plenty of family-friendly picks this festive season.

Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas

If you’re looking for family all-time favourites, a festive film for the kids, or you’re hoping to revisit your own childhood movies for the ultimate nostalgic feels, then look no further.


The BBCITVSky and Channel 4 have all released their exciting Christmas 2021 schedules and there’s certainly a lot to look forward to.

From the new adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days starring David Tennant, to Doctor Who, Worzel Gummidge, and original Sky Cinema film A Boy Called Christmas, we’ve rounded up our favourite TV picks for kids this Christmas.

Without further ado, read on for everything we know so far about the best children’s Christmas TV picks.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for the best Christmas movies for kids, check out our top picks, which include The Christmas Chronicles as well as David and the Elves.

The best Christmas TV for kids in 2021

A Boy Called Christmas – Sky Cinema

A Boy Called Christmas

This brand new festive film tells the origin story of Santa Claus, following a boy called Nikolas (Henry Lawfull) as he sets out on a snowy adventure in search of his missing father.

Also starring Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent, Sally Hawkins, Toby Jones, Kristen Wiig and Stephen Merchant, the film promises to be one for all the family.

“Taking with him a headstrong reindeer called Blitzen and his loyal pet mouse, Nikolas soon meets his destiny in this magical, comic and endearing story that proves nothing is impossible,” Sky teases.

A Boy Called Christmas is available now on Sky Cinema on Sky TV, Sky Q and NOW.

Hansel & Gretel: After Ever After – Sky Max, 23rd December

Hansel and Gretel: After Ever After

David Walliams and Sheridan Smith star in this comic spin on the traditional fairytale Hansel and Gretel, with Smith in the role of The Witch.

The story picks up after the two titular children have already defeated the witch, and are returning back home to their father (Mark Addy) and stepmother (Sophie Thompson).

Hansel & Gretel: After Ever After airs on Sky Max and NOW at 8pm on 23rd December 2021.

Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas – BBC One, Christmas Eve 6pm

Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas
BBC / Ardman Animations

A perfect half-hour episode to sit the kids in front of while you finish any last-minute wrapping.

Little Timmy goes missing in this one-off special, as Shaun and the gang set out on an adventure to try to find new, bigger stockings in time for Christmas.

Shaun The Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas airs on BBC One on Christmas Eve at 6pm.

Terry Pratchett’s Abominable Snow Baby – Channel 4, Christmas Day 7.30pm

The Abominable Snow Baby
Channel 4

Channel 4 certainly has form when it comes to hit animated Christmas specials, and this year is no exception, with a new adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s The Abominable Snow Baby, featuring the voice of Julie Walters as Granny.

The quirky special will form part of Channel 4’s Christmas Day schedule, along with Christmas film classics The Snowman and The Snowman and the Snow Dog.

Terry Pratchett’s The Abominable Snow Baby airs at 7:30pm on Christmas Day on Channel 4 and will also be available on All 4.

Around the World in 80 Days  BBC One, Boxing Day 5.50pm

Around the World in 80 Days

Your new favourite TV show (trust us), BBC One’s adaptation of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days is intended for family viewing, with slapstick and in-jokes for all ages.

David Tennant, who plays nervy explorer Phileas Fogg, recently described the series as a “romp”. “I hope [it brings] a bit of joy. I think it’s very apt that it’s set for a Christmas transmission. It’s that kind of a show, it’s got that kind of scale and that kind of ambition and that kind of warmth,” he told and other press.

“It’s a romp, but it’s got real heart to it, as well. It feels like a genuine – this phrase is overused – but it feels like a genuine piece of family entertainment, something that you can all, you know, grab a mince pie and enjoy together,” he added.

Around the World in 80 Days airs on BBC One and BBC iPlayer at 5:50pm from Boxing Day.

The Voice Kids – ITV, 27th December

The Voice Kids UK

A new series of The Voice Kids launches this festive season, and it will feature a brand new face on the coaching panel: former Spice Girl Melanie C joins alongside Danny Jones, and Pixie Lott.

Melanie C said: “I’ve always been a huge fan of The Voice so I am super excited to be a coach on The Voice Kids this year. I can’t wait to get in one of those big red chairs and Spice things up!”

The Voice Kids airs all week from 27th December 2021, at 7:30pm on ITV and ITV Hub.

Worzel Gummidge – BBC One, 28th December

Worzel Gummidge: 'Guy Forks'
BBC/Leopard Pictures Ld/Adam Lawrence

This gentle, nostalgic reinvention of the classic Worzel Gummidge stories is a favourite among children and adult viewers alike.

Mackenzie Crook leads the cast, reprising his role as the titular talking scarecrow for two more episodes of family-friendly fantasy this Christmas.

Worzel Gummidge airs on BBC One at 7:15pm on 28th December 2021.

Doctor Who BBC One, New Year’s Day

Doctor Who

Is it even Christmas without the traditional New Year’s Doctor Who special?

This year’s intergalactic romp (starring the soon-departing Jodie Whittaker) features special guests including Aisling Bea (Home Sweet Home Alone), Adjani Salmon (Dreaming Whilst Black) and Pauline McLynn (Father Ted).

Doctor Who will air on New Year’s Day on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight. 


This year’s Radio Times Christmas double issue is on sale now, featuring two weeks of TV, film and radio listings, reviews, features and interviews with the stars.