Give Now  »

Indiana Public Media | WFIU Public Radio - NPR | WTIU Public Television - PBS

Snuggle in with Passport all winter long!

It’s the coziest time of the year! The days are shorter, the weather is chillier, and your Passport member benefit is poised to bring you all the best that PBS offers. Whether you are looking for a timeless family classic, festive song and dance, or a merry new tradition, today’s edition of “Handpicked by Heather” offers an assortment of cozy programs to choose from! So, snuggle in with your softest blanket and a hot mug of cocoa to enjoy comfort-viewing all winter long.

Not a Passport user yet? No worries—we have treats for you, too! Be sure to read the full blog to find the link to a fan favorite holiday special, along with a few other fun activities sprinkled throughout—all available free on-demand to every WTIU viewer at or with the PBS app!


Little Women sister with Christmas tree

Little Women

December 1861. The March girls—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—prepare for a Christmas without presents or their father, a Union army chaplain who is away at war. Set against the backdrop of a country divided, the story follows the four sisters on their journey from childhood to adulthood. Under the guidance of their mother, the sisters navigate sibling rivalry, gender roles, first love, loss, and marriage. Masterpiece’s tender treatment of this classic story is sure to warm your heart. Watch Little Women, starring Hollywood leading women Emily Watson, Maya Hawke, and the beloved Angela Lansbury, with your WTIU PBS Passport member benefit. Wondering which Little Women sister you most resemble? Take this quiz to find out!


Straight No Chaser 2023

Straight No Chaser

My family and I moved to Bloomington six years ago, and it’s only taken us that long to see a live performance of Straight No Chaser, the international sensation and beloved a capella group composed of IU alumni. We attended this year’s performance at IU Auditorium, and I am still tapping my toes! If I wasn’t in the holiday spirit before, I surely am now–especially after seeing them perform their original song “Indiana Christmas,” which moistened the eyes of more than a few of us in the house. Whether you’re a long-time Chaser or a brand-new fan, you will love the holiday edition of The Straight No Chaser: 25th Anniversary Special, taped at the Murat Theatre and available only with your WTIU PBS Passport benefit!


Clown with Christmas tree

Clown by Quentin Blake

This enchanting and beautifully animated short will delight both the young and young-at-heart! Based on the children’s book of the same name, Clown tells the story of an abandoned toy clown who goes on a Christmas Eve journey to find a new home for himself and his friends. Master illustrator Quentin Blake has created an irrepressible character, an action-filled plot, and an eloquent story that can be interpreted on several levels—all without the use of a single word except that of the narrator, voiced by acclaimed actor Helena Bonham Carter.


Call the Midwife Winter Scene

Call the Midwife

Set to start its 13th season in early 2024, Call the Midwife follows the nurses, midwives, and nuns from Nonnatus House, who visit the expectant mothers of Poplar, providing the poorest women with the best possible care. As part of your festivities, join the midwives for the last four seasons’ heartwarming holiday episodes with your WTIU PBS Passport member benefit. Then tune in to WTIU for the broadcast premiere of the 2023 holiday special, airing on Christmas Day at 8:00 pm EST. Want to learn more about this essential profession? Follow real midwives as they discuss how the drama of the show intersects with modern day midwifery.


 All Creatures Great and Small holiday scene

All Creatures Great & Small

If you’ve been following “Handpicked by Heather,” you know by now that All Creatures Great and Small is my absolute favorite! Its warmth is evident in all seasons, but especially at this time of year. From the lovable curmudgeon Siegfried and his affable brother Tristan to the ever-patient Mrs. Hall and the perfectly matched Helen and James (and of course all the adorable furry patients), you will delight in knowing these characters! With Season 4 set to begin January 7, now is the perfect time to watch (or rewatch) the first three seasons. If you only have time for a few episodes, skip right to the final episode of each season to get all the holiday feelings! For more fun, take the romance quiz to find out who your Darrowby darling is. Then bake a batch of Mrs. Hall’s famous shortbread cookies to serve at your next holiday gathering!


Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Even if you’ve watched every season of Downton Abbey, viewing it this time of year just hits differently. The family dynamics, enthralling story, and memorable quips from the Dowager Countess will keep you and any house guests you may be hosting entertained throughout the holiday season. Be sure to stream Season 2’s special Christmas episode with its memorable snowy scene between Matthew and Mary. All six seasons of Downton Abbey are available on Passport until January 31, 2024. Watch (or rewatch) this landmark series before it leaves Passport!


Mafia Only Kills In Summer

Mafia Only Kills in Summer

Okay, stay with me here. I know it doesn’t sound like comfort-viewing, but Mafia Only Kills in Summer is a surprisingly heartwarming series. To give you an idea, imagine a series where the Wonder Years meets The Godfather, all set in 1970s Palermo, Italy. Narrated by the adult protagonist Palermo, the series unfolds from the young Palermo’s point-of-view, as he tells the story of his family attempting to navigate an ordinary life while steering clear of any involvement with the Mafia at a time when the crime families maintained a strong hold over the city. A mixture of historical fact and engaging fiction, this series from Walter Presents is in Italian with English subtitles. Watch both seasons, including a Christmas-themed episode, with your WTIU PBS Passport benefit!


Urban Nutcracker

The Urban Nutcracker

You may have seen The Nutcracker before, but you’ve never seen it presented like this! Anthony Williams’ Urban Nutcracker puts a modern spin on the 19th-century fairy tale. Strains of Duke Ellington dovetail with the heartbeat of Tchaikovsky, blending classic ballet, urban tap, hip hop, step and jazz into something truly special; it’s a celebration of our multi-cultural community! Tune in with your WTIU PBS Passport benefit to see this new twist on an old favorite. Then go behind the scenes to learn more about the creation of community and youth empowerment through the arts when you watch Beyond the Stage: The Urban Nutcracker, Community, & the Arts, available only with Passport.


Mary Berry Highland Christmas

Mary Berry’s Ultimate Christmas

All WTIU viewers can join much-loved British home cook Mary Berry for the ultimate Christmas feast, packed with tips to plan and get organized for the big day, when you tune to Mary Berry’s Ultimate Christmas, free on-demand at or with the PBS app. Learn Mary’s best secrets to planning a successful holiday gathering; then join Mary again on December 18th, when her newest holiday special  Mary Berry’s Highland Christmas  premiers on WTIU at 9:00 EST.  And as an extra special gift to our WTIU family of viewers, we invite you to make the most of this festive season with these holiday recipes, menus, gift guides, and more from your favorite PBS chefs!