2017 Holiday Viewers' Guide: TV Episodes, Specials, Marathons, Movies, and More

From a Gwen Stefani Christmas special to It's a Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown, the Grinch, and more — holiday TV has arrived.

by | December 19, 2017 | Comments


A holly, jolly holiday season kicks off now with our guide to the most festive TV coming in December. Read on to find out which network is airing those famous Rankin and Bass stop-motion television classics and where you can find all sorts of seasonal programming fare from Gwen Stefani to Bruno Mars to fragile leg lamps, the Grinch, and more.

(We will update this list with more holiday programming as new information becomes available.)


The Nutcracker by The Royal Ballet (Tristram Kenton/Ovation TV)
(Photo by Tristram Kenton/Ovation TV)

Turner Christmas Classics — Set your DVRs for these lesser-known black-and-white seasonal options starting with 1947’s Bush Christmas. It’s a family adventure film about a group of children who set out across the Australian bush to get back their horses from thieves. Airs Friday, Dec. 1 at midnight ET/PT on TCM followed by Tenth Avenue Angel at 1:30 a.m. ET/PT. Angela Lansbury stars in this 1948 drama about a child who helps an ex-con find love for Christmas. The triple feature ends with the hour-long documentary Night at the Movies: A Merry Christmas, which traces the history of Yule inspired movies at 3 a.m. ET/PT.

Nutcracker Overload — Ovation TV will air its 11th annual “Battle of the Nutcrackers,” a five-day marathon beginning Monday, Dec. 11 at 7 a.m. ET with Peter Wright’s The Nutcracker from the Australian Ballet. The latter is considered one of the world’s most beautiful renditions. Viewers can decide by voting on Ovation’s Facebook page. This will be followed by Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 7 a.m. ET, as performed by the Dutch National Ballet. The Nutcracker Semperoper Ballet will do the honors Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 7 a.m. ET with the Berlin State Opera performance airing Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7 a.m. ET. The Royal Opera House will close out the competition Friday, Dec. 15 at 7 a.m. ET.

A Christmas Story — Remakes are cool, but there is nothing like the original. Relive the fun from the 1983 holiday classic A Christmas Story when it airs around the clock like it does every year. The fun kicks off Sunday, Christmas Eve at 8 p.m. ET on TBS.

Big Laughs — Enjoy the biggest and funniest pranks when the Impractical Jokers Christmas Day marathon spotlights some of Sal, Q, Joe and Murr’s best work. It airs all day Monday, Dec. 25 on truTV.

Harry Potter: The Entire Adventure — Every Harry Potter movie airs on HBO in handy binge-format Jan. 1, 2018.


Charlie Brown Christmas
(Photo by ABC)

A Charlie Brown Christmas —Celebrate the holidays with this digitally-re-mastered hit, which originally aired in 1965. It airs Thursday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration — Join Emmy winner Julianne Hough and multiplatinum recording artist and TV personality Nick Lachey, as they host the two-hour show from the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. The special airs Thursday, Nov. 30 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

A StoryBots Christmas — The StoryBots are headed to the North Pole in this all-new Netflix original holiday offering. The animated special begins streaming Friday, Dec. 1 on Netflix and stars Ed Asner and Judy Greer.

Masters of Illusion: Christmas Magic — Illusionist Michael Grandinetti will add his own brand of magic to the holidays in this new special. It airs Friday, Dec. 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

Miss Me This Christmas — The “perfect couple,” Regina (Erica Ash, Survivor’s Remorse) and Franklin (Redaric Williams), celebrate a fairy-tale Christmas wedding anniversary and seem to have it all. Yet their marriage is on the rocks. Can mistletoe and holly save their love? Find out when this made-for-TV offering airs Sunday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. ET on TV One.

Psych: The Movie — Catch up with fake psychic Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his best friend, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill) in this two-hour movie set three years after the series finale of the popular USA Network detective show. A mystery assailant brings the duo together during the holidays. Airs Thursday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on USA.

Freshly Baked: The Robot Chicken Santa Claus Pot Cookie Freakout Special: Special Edition — The Robot Chicken holiday special kicks off season 9 of the series. St. Nick meets his idol Jared Leto and more in the special, which airs Sunday, Dec. 10 at 11:30 a.m. ET/PT.

The Nightmare Before Christmas — Jack Skellington, Halloweentown’s popular Pumpkin King, becomes obsessed with bringing Christmas under his control in this 1993 hit. It airs Friday, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform and repeats Saturday, Dec. 2 at 3:10 p.m. ET/PT and Wednesday Dec. 13 at midnight.

Will Ferrell in Elf (New Line Cinema)

Elf – Buddy the Elf goes looking for his biological father in this hilarious holiday movie from 2003. It airs Friday, Dec. 1 at 9:15 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform. Look for re-airings at Saturday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. ET/PT and Sunday, Dec. 24 at 9:15 p.m ET/PT.

The Chew: Snowed In For the Holidays — Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly and Carla Hall whip up festive dishes and crafts, while pop vocal group Human Nature sings fun holiday carols. It airs Sunday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. ET/ 2 p.m. PT  on ABC and re-airs Christmas Day at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.

The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special — Tune in to this 50th anniversary celebration of the award-winning comedy series The Carol Burnett Show, which premiered on Sept. 11, 1967. The tribute airs Sunday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Christmas at Holly Lodge — A business owner falls in love with a real-estate developer who wants to buy her lodge. The problem is, the lodge isn’t for sale. It stars Alison Sweeney, Jordan Bridges and Sheryl Lee Ralph and premieres Sunday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the Hallmark Channel.

My Christmas Prince — Alexis Knapp (Pitch Perfect) stars as Samantha, a dedicated teacher in Manhattan who returns to her small Wyoming hometown every year for Christmas. This year, she’s thrilled when her boyfriend Alex, a European diplomat, joins her. But when Samantha discovers Alex is actually a prince destined for the throne, her entire world is turned upside down. It airs Sunday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.

The Holiday — Cozy up to this adorable 2006 romantic comedy starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black when it airs Monday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.

Toy Story That Time Forgot – Woody, Buzz and more beloved Toy Story characters return for this holiday treat, which features Trixie the triceratops (Kristen Schaal) as the hero. The animated offering airs Dec. 7 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town — Feel warm and fuzzy with Rankin and Bass’ perennial favorite from 1970, which airs Monday, Dec. 11 at 1:35 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.

Gwen Stefani’s You Make It Feel Like Christmas — The Grammy winning singer will perform holiday classics from her album of the same name including “Jingle Bells” and “Silent Night.” It airs Tuesday Dec. 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

TARAJI'S WHITE HOT HOLIDAYS - Taye Diggs, Taraji P. Henson, Tituss Burgess and Jay Pharoah (Michael Becker/FOX)

Taraji’s White Hot Holidays — The star behind Empire’s heroine Cookie is back to host another star-studded affair full of caroling and classic holiday songs. Special guests include Chaka Khan, Leslie Odom Jr., Salt-N-Pepa and more. It airs Thursday, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas — Boris Karloff narrates this classic 1966 animated favorite, which airs Saturday, Dec. 16 at 9:15 p.m. ET/PT and Saturday, Dec. 23 at 9:20 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform. NBC is also airing the movie Christmas Day at 8:30 p.m ET/PT.

(Photo by Tommy Garcia/Fox)

A Christmas Story Live! — Enjoy this three-hour live musical television event, which like the original movie focuses on 9-year-old Ralphie (Andy Walken), a boy who incessantly dreams of getting a Red Ryder Range Model Carbine Action BB Gun for Christmas. It premieres Sunday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

Last Tango in Halifax Holiday Special — The drama follows Celia’s daughter Caroline as she moves the family to a less-than-desirable farmhouse in time for Christmas. It airs back-to-back Sundays, Dec. 17 and 24 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on PBS.

Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic — Tap into your inner child with this inside look at how Disney destinations are turned into winter wonderlands just in time for the holidays. It airs Monday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.

I Love Lucy Christmas Special — This one-hour special features back-to-back classic and colorized episodes of the beloved sitcom. It airs Friday, Dec. 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

The Dick Van Dyke Show – Now In Living Color — Series creator Carl Reiner selected this pair of newly colorized episodes as two examples of the late great Mary Tyler Moore’s best work. They air Friday, Dec. 22 beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

How Murray Saved Christmas — Laugh along as Murray (Jerry Stiller), a very unlikely hero, saves the big day. The animated special airs Sunday, Christmas Eve at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

It’s a Wonderful Life  Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings in this beloved holiday classic from 1946. It airs Sunday, Christmas Eve at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

Christmas Eve with Fairfield University This hour-long Christmas special features musical performances from the University Glee Club, an ensemble of jazz musicians and the alumni band Lionfish. Fairfield University is located on a 200-acre campus on the Connecticut coast. The special airs Sunday, Christmas Eve at 11:35 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Call the Midwife Holiday Special — Neither a thick blanket of snow nor the coldest winter in 300 years can stop this group of dedicated midwives from helping their patients. Tune in when this special installment airs Monday, Christmas Day at 9 p.m. ET/PT on PBS.

Disney Parks Magical Christmas Celebration — This holiday showcase will be brighter and bigger bringing together the beloved Christmas Day parade, magical musical performances and surprise celebrity guests. It airs Monday, Christmas Day at 10 a.m. ET/ 9 a.m. PT on ABC.

Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time — Get into the holiday spirit when the Doctor comes face to face with the Doctor in this epic finale to the Peter Capaldi era. In “Twice Upon a Time,” the twelfth Doctor (Capaldi) still refuses to change but starts to see the light when he goes on an adventure with the first Doctor (David Bradley, Game of Thrones). Pearl Mackie and Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) also star. It airs Monday, Christmas Day at 9 p.m. ET on BBC America.

Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day — Peter, a young boy in a red snowsuit, jumps off the pages of this beloved children’s book and right into our hearts in this animated special. It begins streaming Tuesday, Dec. 26 on Amazon Prime Video.

Pete the Cat: A Groovy New Year — Pete the Cat needs a New Year’s resolution but first he must figure out what a resolution is. The animated special starts streaming Tuesday, Dec. 26 on Amazon Prime Video.

Great Performances — From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2018 — Ring in the New Year with the Vienna Philharmonic as they perform a selection of beloved Strauss Family waltzes with guest conductor Riccardo Muti. It airs Monday, Jan. 1 at 2 p.m. ET/PT on PBS.


Homicide for the Holidays — Season 2 of this perennial series features a whole new batch of holiday crime stories with interviews from the detectives who worked the cases as well as the friends and family of the victims. The five-part program premieres Saturday, Nov. 25 at 6 p.m. ET/PT on Oxygen.

The Great Christmas Light Fight  Nothing punctuates the holidays like Christmas lights and fights about Christmas lights especially when there’s a $50,000 prize. Season 5 of the holiday offering airs for three consecutive weeks beginning Monday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Happy! — Based on the graphic novel of the same name, this dark comedy follows Nick Sax (star Christopher Meloni), an intoxicated, corrupt ex-cop who becomes a hit man. After an assassination gone wrong, his inebriated life is permanently changed by an imaginary but relentlessly positive blue-winged horse named Happy (voiced by Patton Oswalt). The series kicks off Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SyFy.

The Great American Baking Show — Feast your eyes and stomachs on this two-hour season premiere, which kicks off Thursday, Dec. 7 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.


The Powerpuff Girls - "You're a Good Man, Mojo Jojo" (Cartoon Network)
(Photo by Cartoon Network)

Teen Titans Go! — “TTG v. Santa,” Dec. 1, 6 p.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network

We Bare Bears — “The Perfect Tree,” Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network

The Powerpuff Girls — “You’re a Good Man, Mojo Jojo,” Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network

Will & Grace — “A Gay Olde Christmas,” Dec. 5, 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC

Superstore  — “Christmas Eve,” Dec. 5, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC

Dynasty —”The Best Things in Life,” Dec. 6, 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW

Bob’s Burgers — “The Bleakening Christmas Special Pt. 1” and “The Bleakening Christmas Special Pt. 2,” Dec. 10, 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Fox

Family Guy  — “Don’t Be A Dickens At Christmas,” Dec. 10, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Fox

(Photo by Eddy Chen/Fox)

Lethal Weapon — “Wreck the Halls,” Dec. 12, 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox

Little Women: LA —”A Little Festive,” Dec. 13, 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime

Steven Universe — “Dewey Wins” and “Gemcation,” Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network

Great News — “A Christmas Carol” and “Sensitivity Training,” Dec. 21, 8 and 8:30 p.m ET/PT on NBC

Saturday Night Live — “Christmas Special,” Dec. 21, 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC

Peppa Pig — “Father Christmas,” Dec. 22, 12:30 p.m. ET/PT on Nickelodeon

The Rap Game — “Holiday Remix,” Dec. 22, 10 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime

The Simpsons — “The Nightmare After Krustmas,” Christmas Eve, 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox

Married at First Sight — “Holiday Game Night,” Dec. 26, 9 p.m. on Lifetime

Cyberchase — “A Reboot Eve to Remember,” Dec. 29, air times vary so check your local listings, PBS

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