Cast of The Great British Baking Show under a wreath
"The Great British Baking Show" can be enjoyed at any time of the year, but its holiday specials allow for plenty of laughs and ideas for holiday-themed treats. (Illustration by Amber Duan, Pratt Institute)

‘The Great British Baking Show’ and Its Holiday Specials Are The Perfect Way To Warm Up This Holiday Season

This reality competition features more than just baking — it’s filled with jokes, lovable competitors and holiday-themed recipes that you can try at home.

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Cast of The Great British Baking Show under a wreath

This reality competition features more than just baking — it’s filled with jokes, lovable competitors and holiday-themed recipes that you can try at home.

With 12 seasons worth of episodes, “The Great British Baking Show” has become one of the most popular food competition shows on television. It is arguably the most renowned and beloved baking series, boasting an international audience. Although it first gained popularity in England, the show has now gained traction in the United States, as well as other countries, like Italy and Germany. Also known as “The Great British Bake Off,” this cherished franchise has just completed its 12th season — and with the holidays approaching, there’s no better time to binge Season 12 and the holiday specials.

Season 12: A Wealth of Lovable Contestants, Good Laughs and Delicious Bakes

For viewers in the United States, the best place to binge “The Great British Baking Show” is Netflix. Season 12 has just wrapped up its finale, so the entire competition is ready for consumption; the list of its 12 contestants can be found here. Fans generally agree that this is one of the best groups to enter the famous baking tent. Fan-favorite contestants include Jürgen, a precise German baker with an endearing persona and accent, and Giuseppe, an Italian baker who brings a captivating passion for baking Italian foods to the tent.

Another lovable competitor is Chigs, someone who the others joke looks like a young Robert De Niro. Chigs has also managed to get into the highly competitive tent after only beginning his baking journey during the pandemic. All 12 contestants are fascinating and beloved in their own ways, and viewers will come to root for each competitor, including Freya, with her original vegan bakes, and Lizzie, who makes chaotic and tasty creations.

Although this is not their first season hosting together, Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas add to the magic of “The Great British Baking Show.” The pair are witty and quirky, constantly distracting the contestants and giving time cues in weirdly funny ways. Much of the show’s appeal lies in its humor: Some jokes are purely physical, while other jokes are cringey puns that make everyone laugh nonetheless. Others include the hilarious innuendos that more mature audiences will appreciate.

Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith make for an amazing judging pair. While they have judged together for previous seasons of “The Great British Baking Show,” they have now grown comfortable with each other, as well as with Fielding and Lucas. With this closeness, the four can roast each other and banter on a more intimate, hysterical level. For example, the others will often poke fun at Hollywood’s intimidating stares and harsh critiques.

Meanwhile, Hollywood, Fielding and Lucas will joke about Leith’s innocence, as she has a track record of missing any adult innuendos. With such blossoming relationships, Season 12 of “The Great British Baking Show” is one of the most wholesome and hilarious collections — especially when considering the 12 fantastic contestants that have entered the tent.

In addition to an amazing group of people and a wealth of laughs, Season 12 brings about new, captivating baking. Viewers can either admire the complexity and beauty of these bakes and never attempt to try them, or they can dare to use “The Great British Baking Show” as inspiration for trying new recipes for the holidays.

“Free From” bakes make up the theme for one of the most interesting and innovative episodes. In round one — which features signature bakes — the contestants are challenged to create ice cream sandwiches that are dairy-free. The bakers also experiment with vegan sausage rolls and gluten-free cakes later on. Such groundbreaking creations may provide the perfect holiday recipes for families with certain food intolerances. Other episodes are filled with pointers for other ambitious endeavors such as biscuits, bread and caramel bakes.

Topping off a Winter Binge of “The Great British Baking Show” With the Holiday Specials

Along with the natural wholesomeness of watching holiday baking specials during December, there’s never been a better time to binge these specials, because the highly-anticipated fourth season was recently released on Netflix. Season 4 is especially exciting, as it mixes things up in comparison to the previous three specials. While the first three holiday seasons are comprised of two episodes centered around Christmas, the fourth season will have one episode designated for Christmas bakes, while the second episode focuses on New Year’s. Some of the bakers returning to the tent include Henry and Helena from 2019, as well as Nancy and Rahul, the winners of 2014 and 2018 respectively.

The tent is all decked out in Christmas decorations, giving these specials an amazing aesthetic backdrop. But if viewers are looking for some serious inspiration for holiday bakes, then look no further. While Season 12 is still a must-watch and has some great recipe ideas, the holiday specials will — of course — have Christmas and New Year’s-themed bakes that are tailored for this time of the year.

Viewers of previous seasons will also appreciate the nostalgia that comes with watching some of the most cherished bakers return to the tent. This nostalgic aura can add to the overall coziness and wholesome energy that comes with watching “The Great British Baking Show” and “The Great British Baking Show: Holidays.”

There is also “The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition” that viewers can check out on Hulu. However, “The Great British Baking Show” is overall a more entertaining, wholesome and humorous watch. Although Hollywood is a judge on the American version of this classic, the stark absence of Leith, Fielding and Lucas is not easily overlooked. Nothing can quite beat the magic of watching these four in the tent and the authenticity of the original version of the beloved baking competition.

Writer Profile

Sonia Noorbakhsh

UC Berkeley
English

Hello! My name is Sonia. I have always loved anything pertaining to English. In my free time I enjoy traveling, reading and drinking plenty of coffee.

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