The festive season marks the halfway point of Championship campaign and while for some, the roast turkey and trimmings will taste particularly sweet, others might be getting a lump of coal on Christmas morning.
Our network of BBC local radio commentators and regional journalists have assessed how each club is faring, and what they need to do to meet their objectives this season...
Barnsley (23rd) - 'Tykes need a miracle'
Andy Giddings, BBC Radio Sheffield sports editor
Barnsley's fifth-placed finish last season will go down as the stuff of legend at Oakwell so repeating that was always going to be virtually impossible.
Talismanic players like loanee Daryl Dike and captain Alex Mowatt left, as did manager Valerien Ismael (Mowatt and Ismael to West Brom).
Ismael's preferred direct style was abandoned on the request of the board at Barnsley and Markus Schopp was employed to change it to a more possession-based style to essentially make the players more sellable.
Unfortunately that plan lacked clarity; it seemed doomed to failure from the off. Now it's up to former Sweden Under-21 boss Poya Asbaghi to lead the side out of their more familiar surroundings of the Championship's bottom three.
What do they need? A miracle. Is it possible? Yes. It's happened before.
You can listen to Barnsley commentaries on Football Heaven on BBC Radio Sheffield: FM 88.6 and 104.1, Freeview 734, and DAB radio.
Richard Wilford, BBC Radio WM
Birmingham City's inconsistency so far can partially be put down to some misfortune on the injury front, but it also points to some more deep-lying problems that the club's owners seem unwilling or unable to address.
Lee Bowyer and technical director Craig Gardner refreshed the squad on a shoestring budget in the summer with understandably mixed results.
On a positive note, goalkeeper Matija Sarkic has kept 10 clean sheets since arriving on loan from Wolves while another loanee, Tahith Chong, brought a cutting edge to their attacking play before a bad injury saw him heading back to Manchester United.
Troy Deeney's decision to come home and play for his boyhood club has seen increasingly positive results as his touch and fitness have improved month by month, but the supporting cast needs reinforcements.
The breakthrough of 17-year-old midfielder Jordan James, who has made four successive starts, has merely highlighted Bowyer's lack of options.
The Blues board have told Bowyer and Gardner they must generate funds to spend in January, with the effective transfer-listing of club captain Harlee Dean a bold statement as they try to prevent another flirtation with relegation.
Andy Bayes, BBC Radio Lancashire sports editor
A dozen summer departures including striker Adam Armstrong, precious little spent on reinforcements, a club record home defeat and calls for the manager's head could all be talking points of the first half of Blackburn Rovers' Championship season. But they're not.
They've been sensational and deserve to be third in the table on Christmas morning, three points off top spot.
The season began with genuine and realistic fears of where the goals would come from. But it's been a team effort from game one to 23, with some members of the squad coming of age with the added responsibility and experience of regular football. Ben Brereton Diaz has scored 19 league goals and the Spaniard is looking every inch a top international footballer.
Ben Brereton Diaz has scored 19 goals in 23 league games
Homegrown talents John Buckley and Scott Wharton are automatic selections for the first time while Reda Khadra and Jan-Paul van Hecke are benefitting the from the loan system. The list goes on.
The question is, can it continue? Manager Tony Mowbray and three key players are out of contract in six months' time and interest will grow in others too.
Whatever happens between now and May, this young squad have given the supporters hope, pride and maybe expectation for the second half of the season. The manager and his team deserve enormous credit.
Ian Chisnall, BBC Radio Lancashire
As a newly-promoted team, a mid-season place in the top half of the table should surely satisfy the head coach.
Not Blackpool's Neil Critchley who believes his team's 30-point return should have been more.
Saturday's win against struggling Peterborough ended a seven-game run without a victory and should set up a fascinating second half of the campaign.
There have been injuries to key players and goals have been in short supply, which is an area that will be addressed in January when there will be a concerted effort to bring Ellis Simms back from Everton for a second loan spell.
However, centre-back Marvin Ekpiteta's impressive displays will not have gone unnoticed and the club will need to hold on to their young talent if the current upward trajectory is to be maintained.
Kris Temple, BBC Radio Solent
Despite most of Scott Parker's tenure being blighted by injuries, the Cherries remain in a very strong position to challenge for a return to the Premier League.
Having strengthened their limited available resources late in August, Bournemouth's form clicked into a winning groove that looked unstoppable.
But injuries have returned and Parker has lost a number of key players at various stages.
With a full squad hopefully available soon, there is no reason why they shouldn't be finishing in the top two with the players they have, and with a manager who knows what it takes to get out of the Championship.
Listen to every AFC Bournemouth game live on BBC Radio Solent, on DAB, 103.8 FM and Freeview 726 in the South.
Richard Hoskin, BBC Radio Bristol
Bristol City's inconsistency means Nigel Pearson's reign at the club is yet to kick into gear.
After a lengthy 17-game run without a home victory, results have finally started to pick up at Ashton Gate. But now they've registered just one point in their past five away matches heading into the festive period.
Pearson told me last week that the club are going through "transition", adding "there's still considerable work to be done". The manager was given a three-year contract in the summer and it's going to take time for City to realistically challenge for the Premier League.
January will be interesting - with finances tight in these tough times, players will probably have to leave the club in order to bring fresh blood in as Pearson looks to tackle the third-worst defensive record in the Championship.
But there are positives heading into 2022. Behind the scenes City are blessed, with the squad settling into their impressive new training ground.
And potential young stars like Alex Scott and Han-Noah Massengo are the future of the football club, assuming the club are able to resist inevitable interest in their services.
BBC Wales football correspondent Rob Phillips
It's been all change at Cardiff City - and it's been a struggle.
Manager Mick McCarthy began efforts to gravitate away from their direct style of play but after a dismal run of eight consecutive defeats, he left the club in October.
Former Wales international Steve Morison was promoted from under-23s coach to take over, heading a regime supported by the return of former captain Mark Hudson.
Morison has since ensured youngsters are at the vanguard of changing the playing style. Wales international Rubin Colwill has led the way, Isaac Davies has shone and summer recruit Mark McGuinness has performed well.
With money tight, Cardiff may look to recall loanees Ryan Wintle (from Blackpool) and Max Watters (from MK Dons), but keeping striker Kieffer Moore in January seems key to avoiding relegation while the philosophy evolves.
Commentary on BBC Radio Wales FM/DAB.
Clive Eakin, BBC CWR
Coventry's return to their home city after two years of exile in Birmingham has corresponded with one of the most exciting seasons the fans have enjoyed for a long time.
Five home matches at the Coventry Building Society Arena have attracted crowds of more than 20,000 and the fans been richly entertained right up to the end of games. The Sky Blues have scored six goals in second-half stoppage time, earning eight points in the process.
The club have given five debuts to summer signings but the bulk of the squad remains from last season and the players seemed to have grown from what, for many, was their first season in Championship football.
The strikers have been in goal-scoring form - first Viktor Gyokeres with nine in the first 11 games and when his tally dried up, Matty Godden took over and has scored eight goals so far.
Coventry have exceeded many people's expectations this season
The signing of goalkeeper Simon Moore has helped tighten a defence brilliantly led by Kyle McFadzean, who is having one of the best seasons of his career.
The question now is whether they can maintain their unexpected challenge for a play-off place. Four draws and a defeat in the past five has raised doubts but most of those draws were hard-earned and Mark Robins seems to have instilled belief in his squad that they can continue to surprise the pundits.
Live commentary on every Sky Blues game on BBC CWR with Steve Ogrizovic.
Ed Dawes, BBC Radio Derby
Derby County head into 2022 hoping that it will be the start of a renaissance of the club following what has been a very difficult year for supporters.
Derby were docked 12 points in September for going into administration and a further nine in November for breaches of accounting rules, which leaves them bottom of the Championship.
The Rams were steered out of that near terminal crisis by legendary manager Arthur Cox, Stuart Webb and the Maxwell family. In 2022, they have the talismanic manager Wayne Rooney and should be under a new ownership group - though US businessman Chris Kirchner, one of three prospective buyers, has withdrawn his bid.
What the club and the supporters need now is stability and the rebuilding of the relationship between them and the club.
Rooney is getting performances and commitment and despite certain relegation, going down with a fight will please the fans.
Gary Smee, BBC Sport online journalist
Top of the table heading into Christmas - that usually points to a season that has gone extremely well so far.
Up until mid-November, it was an A+ for Marco Silva's side. Goals were flying in, Championship top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic looked a class above anyone else in the division, and seven straight wins had opened up a nine point gap to third.
But a goalless game against Derby on 24 November started a run of four straight draws, followed by a defeat against Sheffield United last time out which Silva described as "a really bad evening".
Results should pick up with the next few games against sides struggling and you wouldn't bet against Fulham starting to pull clear once again.
Ian Woodcock, BBC Sport online Yorkshire journalist
It's fair to say that expectations were not particularly high in West Yorkshire heading into the new season.
The Terriers made a good start to life under Carlos Corberan in 2020-21 but fell off badly and a 5-1 thumping by Fulham in their first home game of the season left many expecting the Spaniard to be replaced.
However, boosted by some resolute defending, they rallied well and have been one of the division's surprise packages.
The performances of Wales international forward Sorba Thomas were exceptional in the first few months and though he has dropped off a little of late, results have remained fairly consistent and they head into Christmas just two points off the play-offs.
Whether Town can maintain these levels remains to be seen and it seems unlikely they will be in a position to bolster their squad in January after owner Phil Hodgkinson's businesses were placed into administration a couple of months ago.
David Burns, BBC Radio Humberside
Hull City have gone from looking like relegation fodder to possible mid-table marvels.
I think the injury-forced abandonment of the 'club philosophy' 4-3-3 - to a system based on a three-man defence - has been the big factor. They've looked more robust.
The return of George Honeyman, last season's player of the year, has also helped.
As for the future, much will depend on potential new owner Acun Ilicali, a Turkish media mogul.
He's the man who brought Deal or No Deal to Turkey and his arrival would put a question mark over manager Grant McCann's future, with at least one possible replacement being touted.
As for his first investment, a couple of strikers would be a start. But even without them, Hull should stay up.
You can find Hull City coverage on BBC Radio Humberside and by following David on Twitter (@bbcburnsy).
Geoff Doyle, BBC Three Counties Radio
The Hatters overachieved last season, doing fantastically well to finish 12th after surviving relegation the season before by the skin of their teeth.
So this season the objective was to better 12th and that was unlikely to be easy.
However, Luton find themselves in and around that position again and for most of the season they have been higher, including in the play-off places.
So it's been another successful campaign so far - recruitment in the summer centred around finding fast, attacking players to improve goal-scoring.
Elijah Adebayo has been one of the standout performers in the Championship
The Hatters have already scored 31 in the Championship. Last season they only scored 10 more across the whole season so a significant improvement.
Elijah Adebayo has been the catalyst. The striker's goal tally is already in double figures and continues to improve. He's tall, quick, has excellent technical ability and is still young. Luton have a gem of a striker.
Defender Kal Naismith and midfielder Jordan Clark have been the other stand-out players and Luton's high press has really caught the eye.
Paul Addison, Sports Editor, BBC Radio Tees
Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder is understandably playing down his side's chances of getting into the Championship play-offs, but there's renewed excitement at The Riverside Stadium over what the coming months could bring.
Wilder succeeded Neil Warnock in November, who'll be remembered fondly on Teesside for saving Boro from the drop to League One in the 2019-20 campaign before successfully navigating the coronavirus-hit season that followed.
Wilder is refreshed after his break from management and has had a reinvigorating effect amongst supporters, who had become a little disillusioned with the club's direction, or perhaps lack of it.
The former Sheffield United boss has made no secret of the fact that January is a huge month with lots of arrivals and departures expected.
He has also said repeatedly his plans will take time to materialise, but after a string of good results the fan base are dreaming of a top-six finish.
BBC Radio Tees Sport has commentary on every Middlesbrough match.
Brent Pilnick, journalist BBC Sport online
As ever it seems, the Lions continue to confound their status as one of the clubs with the lowest budgets as they safely occupy a mid-table position.
Jed Wallace's five goals has again showed his key place in the Millwall attack, and with Tom Bradshaw and Benik Afobe also chipping in, Gary Rowett's side find themselves five points off the play-off places.
With an FA Cup tie at home to Premier League Crystal Palace on the horizon, Millwall will hope to keep fighting on two fronts for as long as possible.
Colin Fray, BBC Radio Nottingham's Nottingham Forest commentator
The transformation in Forest since the arrival of Steve Cooper is nothing short of miraculous. Previous manager Chris Hughton was sacked in September, with the club bottom of the table with just one point from their first seven games.
The previous season had been a struggle in front of goal, too, so the question for any new boss was "how will you get them firing?"
Fast forward 16 matches and you find Forest seventh, with only one defeat in those 16 games, and are now the form team in the Championship.
They're playing with verve and vigour, scoring memorable goals and go into Christmas with three straight wins.
Questions remain. Will their impressive loan players stay with them after their parent clubs' January recall clauses - Middlesbrough's Djed Spence has been particularly outstanding - and can they add the right players in the transfer window?
If the answers to both of those questions turn out to be yes, then a season which looked like being long, laborious and ending in relegation, could yet prove to be the club's best in more than a decade.
Peter Swan, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
Peterborough have found life tough on their return to the Championship. Travel sickness has been a major problem with 11 defeats in 12 matches on the road. Their defensive record is comfortably the worst in the division away from home (33 goals conceded).
Last season's top scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris started the season with an injury and has struggled to reach full fitness. Summer signing Jack Marriott tore his hamstring at Reading back in September, leaving Posh short of options up front.
Of their summer additions, only Ollie Norburn and David Cornell have earned regular places in the starting XI. As many fans feared, a lack of Championship-level experience appears to be proving costly.
Nevertheless, the Posh board remain firmly behind manager Darren Ferguson, who signed a contract extension last month and they reach the halfway point of the season only two points from safety.
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's Peterborough United commentary is available throughout the season on 95.7FM and DAB digital.
Andy Bayes, BBC Radio Lancashire sports editor
The first half of the campaign has been a difficult one at Deepdale.
The untimely passing of owner Trevor Hemmings in October, inconsistent performances and results on the pitch and a managerial change in early December did not help matters.
Ryan Lowe was brought in from Plymouth to replace Frankie McAvoy, who had only been given the job on a permanent basis in May.
A 4-1 home defeat by Hull on the opening day was the worst possible start to McAvoy's full-time tenure and they just couldn't reproduce the results from last season.
They won back-to-back league matches only twice, had five successive draws and lost back-to-back matches three times.
Victory at Bournemouth was a highlight but defeats on the road in derby matches at Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers were significant blows. The decision to make a change in the manager's office came 48 hours after the setback at Ewood Park.
Lowe's philosophy is to entertain. His first and only game in charge to date brought three points and a feeling of optimism for a brighter future.
Captain Alan Browne got off the mark in that win over Barnsley, goalkeeper Daniel Iversen and leading scorer Emil Riis Jakobsen have been consistent performers and Ali McCann is looking like an astute signing from St Johnstone.
The feeling in the dressing room is that North End are a far better team than results would suggest. They've got 24 more games to show it.
Sophie Hurcom, BBC Sport online journalist
Despite not necessarily being thought of as one of the favourites for promotion this season, QPR started as one of the league's in-form teams, going on a six-match unbeaten streak that put them behind only Fulham and Bournemouth.
A run of five defeats in eight through September and October knocked them off course slightly, but QPR hold a solid spot in the play-offs with points still on offer over everyone above them because of match postponements.
Mark Warburton is the fourth longest-serving manager in the Championship, and the fact he's been given the fairly rare gift of time to build a squad has shown in the club's progress from his takeover in 2019.
Ilias Chair's development exemplifies this, having signed in 2017. He's currently their joint-top scorer on six goals, with another five assists, and now one of their most important playmakers.
Automatic promotion might be slightly out of reach, but securing a play-off spot at the end of the season would be another big step forward for QPR.
Tim Dellor, BBC Radio Berkshire
No shortage of excuses, but should do better. It has been a tough five months for Reading manager Veljko Paunovic and his team.
Most notably a six-point deduction for huge over-spending in times before Paunovic had ever been to Reading, key players sustaining long-term injuries, and then a Covid-19 outbreak forcing the postponement of big games during the festive season, has made life difficult. Fans would be forgiven for throwing dubious and costly refereeing decisions into the mix, as well.
Veljko Paunovic's Reading were hit with a six-point deduction in November
The team has never really recovered from a sluggish start, picking up only four points from their first six games. To be successful with a small squad this season the club needed to keep everyone out of the treatment room. Most of this season has been played with more than 10 first teamers out injured.
Paunovic was stoic and classy in reaction to the points deduction and must be ruing his luck on all these fronts.
Andy Giddings, BBC Radio Sheffield sports editor
The half-term report for Sheffield United is 'could do better' but at least the potential is there.
The appointment of manager Slavisa Jokanovic started badly with a Covid-affected pre-season and, as he tried to employ his methods, it didn't improve from there.
It's early days under new boss Paul Heckingbottom, who took over from Jokanovic in November, but it does appear as though the Blades have rediscovered their mojo.
The energetic style that brought all that success under Chris Wilder is being redeployed again.
And, put simply, it looks as if the players are playing with a smile on their faces.
More departures than incomings are expected in January but with an experienced squad, there is increasing optimism now that a push for at least a play-off place is back on the cards this season.
You can listen to Sheffield United commentaries on Football Heaven on BBC Radio Sheffield: FM 88.6 and 104.1, Freeview 734, and DAB radio.
Matt Sandoz, BBC Radio Stoke Sport
Stoke are in a decent position after a strong start to the season, however Michael O'Neill will be frustrated with the inconsistency of his side.
They'd lost twice in all competitions when they beat West Bromwich Albion (who were top at the time) in October but since then have won four in 12 in the run up to Christmas.
It's also worth remembering that Stoke have lost key players to injury. Defender Harry Souttar was probably a shoe-in for player of the year, he's out for the rest of the season, while goalkeeper Joe Bursik and forward Nick Powell are also on the sidelines.
If O'Neill can strengthen in January's transfer window, within the FFP limitations, then a play-off place should be a realistic achievement.
BBC Wales football correspondent Rob Phillips
Swansea City are in a season of transition, as manager Russell Martin seeks to put his stamp on the team's style following the summer departure of Steve Cooper.
The wider football world may have been confused by the parting of the ways with Cooper, who led the Swans to consecutive Championship play-offs.
But it seems to have suited both parties, not least because Swans fans yearned for the 'Swansea way' passing style of yesteryear.
Martin has certainly delivered on that method and, in Joel Piroe, the Swans have unearthed a goalscorer of guile, with Jamie Paterson an effective foil.
But Swansea need Southampton recruit Michael Obafemi to come to the party and a goalkeeper is high on their January shopping list.
They must also regain their defensive solidity, with frailties at home having surfaced in their recent games.
Commentary on BBC Radio Wales FM/DAB.
Rob Gurney, BBC WM
On the face of it, Albion aren't too badly off, lying two points outside the automatic promotion places. But if you scratch beneath the surface, there are problems that urgently need addressing.
The greatest of which is a goalscorer.
Charlie Austin, Hal Robson-Kanu and Matheus Pereira did most of the heavy lifting the last time Albion were in the Championship under Slaven Bilic in 2019-20.
But none of those players are still at the club.
Baggies' fans can only wistfully muse about the season they had Dwight Gayle (24 goals) and Jay Rodriguez (22) in their ranks, the same campaign they also had the creative flair of Harvey Barnes on loan from Leicester until January.
For all that there are some valid criticisms of manager Valerien Ismael's selections and his tactics, it's inescapable that Albion are creating opportunities but just not taking them.
Karlan Grant is West Brom's leading scorer with nine goals
Ismael's frustration was there for all to see against Barnsley, and when I spoke to him afterwards, he said that the goalless draw was the confirmation of what everybody has known for a number of weeks - they desperately require a finisher.
Gayle's name is on the radar again - his wages may be an issue, as well as his lack of game time at Newcastle, although he comes as close to a guaranteed scorer at Championship level as it gets.
Inevitably, given his Barnsley connections, Ismael is also being strongly linked with Daryl Dike and Cauley Woodrow.
Either would fit the bill but Dike is also attracting Premier League interest, while Woodrow would cost around £4m - money that previously Albion have been reluctant to spend in January.
Ismael told owner Guochuan Lai exactly what he needs to succeed in their only face-to-face meeting prior to the Barnsley match.
Whether he delivers during this next window will determine if Albion fans can look forward to the prospect of an immediate return to the Premier League.