The annual flurry of festive cookery specials seems to have added resonance this year – perhaps because the renaissance of scratch cooking dovetails with the desire to sit by the warm hearth of nostalgia. Whatever the reason, traditional is back. And what could be more traditional than baking?

Self confessed Christmas kittens, David Myers and Simon King, hopped on a couple of new bikes for The Hairy Bakers’ Christmas Special (BBC2, 11 December). The aim was to throw an early Christmas party for the people who’d be working on the day itself. Despite stopping at a prison to make home made bagels filled with smoked salmon, and a trip to a school to bake biscuits with a group of kids, the pair on the whole avoided mawkish sentimentality and pulled off ‘traditional with a twist’ with aplomb.

Unlike Gordon Ramsay. The fowl-mouthed chef knows all about stuffing multiple birds (a technique delightfully known as turducken in the US), but chose in his Cookalong finale to eschew the traditional main course for... a seasonal paella (Channel 4, 12 December). Apart from enlisting the help of How to Look Shit Naked’s Gok Wan, Ramsay once again resorted to desperate tactics. Resonant of the dying days of Chris Evans’ TV career, an ageing choir burst intermittently into Hallelujahs (thankfully of the hymnal sort, not the X Factor winner’s disgraceful cover of the Leonard Cohen classic) and, worse still, Ramsay’s cookalong buddies included a naturist. Cue crap gags about the woman needing to protect “her bits”, references to “bristols”, and the inevitable camera pan – to the lady’s similarly unadorned partner and friends.

Thank God for Nigella. Kicking off her three-part Nigella’s Christmas Kitchen (BBC2, 15 December), she reminded everyone what Christmas is all about. Cutting a more svelte figure than usual, she kicked off by concocting a devilishly strong-looking Lychini (a lychee Martini) and wrapped the meal up with the Girdle Buster pie – a 1950s diner classic containing biscuits, chocolate chips, coffee, ice cream and bourbon-laced butterscotch. Even those who can’t stomach the woman wouldn’t have a problem with the food.