Christmas television specials catch us with our guard down. We don't ask much of them, except that they give us a warm feeling, a chuckle, and maybe some distraction from worrying about whether we gave Uncle Morty the same pair of socks last Christmas.
That said, there have to be some standards. Badly written and poorly animated Christmas cartoons are thoroughly annoying wastes of time, as are shows that try to spoof or satirize Santa Claus, Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and other traditions.
Great Performances offers The Tailor of Gloucester, a musical version of Beatrix Potter's story about friendly mice who come to the aid of a poor tailor on Christmas Eve. The mice dance; they are played by children from Britain's Royal Ballet School. Like most of Potter's work, it's all very brisk, charming, and slyly funny. B