December End of Year Programming

Christina Knight | December 17, 2018

Our holiday wish is that when you watch WLIW’s December programming, you’ll feel cozy, merry and bright as winter arrives! Familiar faces from Grantchester, The Great British Baking Show, and Call the Midwife return. Happy Holidays!

Streaming now

Compelling spiritual and cultural moments from around the world are captured in Sacred, a new documentary. Sweeping in global reach and yet intensely intimate, the film by Academy Award-winning documentarian Thomas Lennon (American Experience: The Battle Over Citizen Kane), is a tour de force that unifies disparate scenes into a single work, told without narration, without experts and, for long stretches, without words at all. The score is magical.

Filmed by more than 40 teams around the world, Sacred reveals how people turn to ritual and prayer to navigate the milestones and crises of private life throughout the life cycle – from birth to death to rebirth. Learn more about the production and stream now.

The Great British Baking Show Season 5
Fridays at 8 p.m.

Follow the trials and tribulations of passionate amateur bakers whose goal is to be named the U.K.’s best. Each week, the bakers tackle a different skill, the difficulty of which increases as the competition unfolds. Mary Berry, a leading cookbook writer, and Paul Hollywood, a top artisan baker, serve as judges. Together with hosts and comic foils Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, Berry and Hollywood search for the country’s best amateur baker by testing the competitors’ skills on cakes, breads, pastries and desserts, crowning a winner after 10 weeks of competition.

WLIW21 members can stream all seasons any time with the member benefit WLIW21 Passport.

Christmas at St. Olaf: Ris’n with Healing In His Wings
December 17 at 2 p.m.

This musical celebration of the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany season is a a century-old tradition at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. “Gloria” by Andre J. Thomas is a work arranged for massed choir, soloists, and a full orchestra in a gospel musical style. Other music includes familiar Christmas carols, beautiful and contemplative choral anthems, and rollicking orchestral flourishes.

Lidia Celebrates America: A Heartland Holiday Feast
December 19 at 9 p.m.

Celebrity chef and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich takes a culinary journey that will seat us at the table of families all across rural and urban America. From east to west, north to south, experience along with Lidia the diverse melting pot that is America. This series is a deeply personal journey that allows Lidia to share her culinary traditions, heritage and history with others who also have great stories to tell. Stream it after December 18, here.

December 19 – 25 (see schedule for all days and times)
Let’s Go Luna!: Christmas Around the World

Luna the moon guides three friends — a wombat, a butterfly and a frog — as they visit new places around the world with their parents’ traveling performance troupe. In this movie special, the kids believe Santa will never find them when the Circo gets stuck at the South Pole on Christmas Eve. Luna helps the kids work to save Christmas, learning about holiday traditions from around the world along the way.

Watch now on PBS Kids YouTube. Children can watch Let’s Go Luna and other PBS Kids shows online at

NOVA: Ghosts of Stonehenge
December 20 at 9 p.m.

Who built Stonehenge and why? Discover how the last decade of groundbreaking archaeological digs has revealed major new clues to Britain’s enigmatic 5,000-year-old site and the people who constructed it. Stream now.

The ancient World Heritage Site is popular on the winter solstice, when visitors gather to see the sunrise on December 22 above the huge, sculpted stones that were arranged in a circle. Friday, December 21 is the shortest day of the year in terms of daylight hours, or conversely, the longest night of the year.

Christmas With the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
December 24 at 2 p.m.

This annual event has been the top-viewed holiday program on PBS nearly every year for the past 14 years! Guest artist and Broadway star Sutton Foster and narrator Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) join the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square, Bells on Temple Square handbell choir, Gabriel Trumpet Ensemble, dancers and actors in an elaborate, Victorian-themed program from Salt Lake City, Utah, that celebrates the Christmas season through music, dance, storytelling and pageantry. Stream it starting December 18, here.

Sutton Foster and Hugh Bonneville.

Making a New American Nutcracker
Tuesday, December 25, 2 p.m.

Joffrey ballet Making a New American Nutcracker
Join narrator Neve Campbell and the creative team behind The Joffrey Ballet’s new production of Chirstopher Wheeldon’s “The Nutcracker,” a bold re-imagining of the Christmas classic that places Marie in the humble home of a 19th-century immigrant family where she falls asleep and dreams of a journey through the Chicago World’s Fair. Available to stream now.

Grantchester Season 3 Marathon
Tuesday, December 25, 3 – 10 p.m.

This Christmas, join the improbable crime-fighting team of Reverend Sidney Chambers and Inspector Geordie Keating, as they bring justice and spiritual nourishment to early 1950s England.

See the exact broadcast schedule of these encores of Season 3. WLIW21 members can stream all seasons any time with the member benefit WLIW21 Passport.

Call the Midwife Holiday Special
December 26 at 9 p.m.

Christmas preparations are in full swing at Nonnatus House when an unexpected visitor arrives: Sister Mildred (Miriam Margoyles), who has four abandoned Chinese orphans in tow. Mother Superior has taken ill, and a new spiritual leader needs to be elected. It soon becomes clear, much to Sister Julienne’s horror, that she is the favored candidate. And look who’s home for the holidays: Trixie returns to Poplar in time to cover for the Sisters as they leave for the Mother House.

Nature set to the Nutcracker

The Nature team couldn’t resist showcasing the graceful and powerful moves from Nature: A Squirrel’s Guide to Success with this “music video” set to “The Russian Dance” from Tchaikovsky’s famous Nutcracker Suite.