The very existence of a 'Doctor Who' Christmas special actually broadcasting on Christmas Day highlights the cultural differences between England and the United States. Would any of the major U.S. networks broadcast an episode of one of their original, scripted series on Christmas? Likely not.
The episode itself, written by 'Doctor Who' showrunner Steven Moffat, was a prime example of the right person in the right job. In anybody else's hands (looking at you, Mr. Davies), this masterful tale would have simply been fair at best.