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Viewers' Guide: 2016 Holiday Episodes, Specials and Marathons on TV

by | November 28, 2016 | Comments

After you deck the halls and roast a few chestnuts, snuggle up on the couch with the ones you love and enjoy the warm glow of all the holiday programming television has to offer. From classics such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to the Doctor Who Christmas special, there is something for everyone. You just have to know where to look.Hollywood Christmas Parade (Getty Images), New Girl (Fox), Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Classic Media)
(We will continue updating this list with more holiday programming as new information comes available.)

Marathons

THE ROBOT CHICKEN CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (AdultSwim.com)Robot Chicken Christmas Specials (pictured) – Seven back-to-back episodes, including “X-Mas United,” “Lots of Holidays Special,” “Born Again Virgin Christmas Special,” “ATM Christmas Special,” “DP Christmas Special,” and “Dear Consumer,” air starting Sunday, Dec. 11 from 11:30 p.m. until Monday, Dec. 12 at 1 a.m. ET/PT.

Wreck the Halls Block – Only the naughty need tune into this vicious collection of anti-holiday movies which includes Cabin in the Woods and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D. The marathon of murderous movies kicks off Dec. 19, 9-11 p.m. ET/PT and continues airing in two-hour blocks through Christmas Day on Fuse.

Turner Christmas Classics Meet Judy Garland in St. Louis and have Christmas in Connecticut with Barbara Stanwyck during the Turner Classic Movies Christmas Classics Marathon airing Dec. 1, 12, 15, 22, and 24 on TCM.

Very Merry Movie Marathon – Enjoy family favorites like the animated hit Rio and the very silly Beverly Hills Chihuahua beginning Christmas Eve, 11 a.m.-8 a.m. ET on WGN America.

AFV Ha Ha Holidays Marathon – Giggle your way through back-to-back episodes of America’s Funniest Home Videos Christmas Day, 9 a.m.-6 a.m. ET on WGN America.


Specials

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER (Classic Media)

An American Girl Story—Maryellen 1955: Extraordinary Christmas – Young actress Alyvia Alyn Lind stars as an altruistic little girl in 1955 determined to help young polio patients in need. It begins streaming Nov. 25 on Amazon Prime Video.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Boris Karloff narrates this beloved 1966 animated favorite, which airs Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

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 Nov. 25 on Amazon Prime Video.

Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer – This animated special brings new life to the hit novelty song of the same name and airs Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. ET and then again Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

FROSTY THE SNOWMAN (Classic Media)

Frosty the Snowman and Frosty Returns – Get nostalgic with this 1969 animated classic and its 1992 sequel. They’ll air Nov. 25 at 8 and 8:30 p.m. ET/PT respectively on CBS.

How Murray Saved Christmas – Laugh along as Murray (Jerry Stiller), a very unlikely hero, saves the big day. The animated special airs Nov. 25 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie – Don’t miss this animated special based on the children’s book of the same name when it begins streaming Nov. 25 on Amazon Prime Video.

Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town – Feel warm and fuzzy with Rankin and Bass’ perennial favorite from 1970, which airs Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Robbie the Reindeer: Hooves of Fire and Robbie the Reindeer: Legend of the Lost Tribe – Meet Robbie, a chubby and lovesick reindeer who sets out on an adventure because he thinks he is unfit for Santa’s sleigh. In Legend of the Lost Tribe, Robbie tries to find a mythical tribe of Viking warriors. Airs Nov. 26 at 8 and 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

The Story of Santa Claus – Betty White, Ed Asner and Tim Curry provide voices in this 1996 animated favorite, which airs Nov. 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas (Fox)

Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas (pictured) – Get into the spirit of the holidays with America’s favorite arctic herd. It airs Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

All I Want for Christmas – One of Santa’s helpers gives a workaholic a magic pin and changes her life for the better just in time for the holidays in this made-for-TV movie. It airs Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.

CMA Country Christmas – Add a little country-fried flavor to your holidays with this two-hour special hosted by Jennifer Nettles. It airs Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – This 1964 stop-motion classic and its colorful hero never get old. It airs Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Christmas in Rockefeller Center – Eyes will shine bright for this annual tree lighting celebration, which airs Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love – Warm your heart with this Coat of Many Colors sequel based on Parton’s real life growing up in Tennessee. It debuts Nov. 30 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. (Read our interview with Parton about this special.)

ACharlieBrownChristmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas – Celebrate the holidays with this digitally-re-mastered hit, which originally aired in 1965. It airs Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

I Love Lucy Christmas Special – This new, one-hour special features back-to-back classic and colorized episodes of the treasured sitcom. It airs Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Heaven Sent – A runaway angel comes down from heaven to repair a broken marriage in this small-screen movie, which airs Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.

It’s a Wonderful Life – Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings in this beloved holiday classic from 1946. It airs Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – The Griswold family goes overboard for the holidays in this 1989 holiday hit, which airs Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.

Taraji’s White Hot Holidays – The Empire heroine hosts a star-studded affair full of caroling and classic holiday songs with Alicia Keys, Missy Elliott and more. It airs Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

Toy Story That Time Forgot (Disney/Pixar)

Toy Story That Time Forgot – Everyone’s favorite Toy Story characters return for this holiday treat, which features Trixie the triceratops (Kristen Schaal) as the hero and airs Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Shrek the Halls – Stars Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas return for this animated special, which examines Shrek as a family man. It airs Dec. 8 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Albert – This original animated movie follows the misadventures of a Douglas fir tree and airs Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Nickelodeon.

Joe Pera Helps You Find the Perfect Christmas Tree – Pera provides information to help you choose the right tree. Airs Dec. 9 at midnight on Adult Swim.

A Christmas Wedding Date – A Grinch-y woman learns you can go home again even for the holidays in this made-for-TV movie, which airs Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime

Mary Poppins – It’s “Jolly Holiday” time thanks to this beloved 1964 classic starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. It airs Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

FROZEN - ELSA, ANNA (Disney)

Frozen – Let it go and enjoy the holidays with this incredibly popular animated hit. It airs Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Greatest Holiday Commercials Countdown 2016 – Kevin Frazier of Entertainment Tonight and Keltie Knight of The Insider will host and countdown the 12 best holiday commercials of all times. It airs Dec. 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

Arthur Christmas – Santa’s clumsy but well-intentioned son goes on a mission in this 2011 animated flick, which airs Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.

The Top 12 Greatest Christmas Movies of All Time – Dean Cain and a gaggle of helpers will take a close look at a dozen holiday movies America loves the most. It airs Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

Disney Prep & Landing and Prep & Landing 2: Naughty Vs. Nice – Follow the fun loving tale of Santa’s elves Prep and Landing in both the original movie and its sequel, which air Dec. 15 at 8 and 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

IHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2016 – this 90-minute star-studded concert takes place at Madison Square Garden and features performances from Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, The Chainsmokers, Fifth Harmony and Diplo. It airs Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

Hollywood Christmas Parade 2015 (Mike Windle/Getty Images for The Hollywood Christmas Parade)

The 85th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade (pictured) – Olivia Newton-John will act as the grand marshal in this Tinseltown mainstay. It airs Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown – Meet Rerun, Lucy and Linus’ lovable but rambunctious little brother in this modernized Peanuts holiday special. It airs Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

The Sound of Music – Get swept in the history and music of this 1965 masterpiece starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. It airs Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

The Keys of Christmas – Starring Mariah Carey and YouTube artist Rudy Mancuso, this streaming special also features performances by Ciara, DJ Khaled, and Fifth Harmony. Debuts Dec. 19 on YouTube Red.

Elf – Buddy the Elf goes looking for his biological father in this hilarious holiday movie from 2003. It airs Dec. 24 at 7:40 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.

DOCTOR WHO: : The Return of Doctor Mysterio CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: Justin Chatwin (Stuart Crouch / BBC AMERICA)

Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio – The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) teams up with a comic book superhero played by Justin Chatwin (pictured) in a special written by Steven Moffat. Airs: Dec. 25 (time to be announced) on BBC America.

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown – Ring in the New Year with this animated Peanuts special, which airs Dec. 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Rudolph’s Shiny New Year – Rudolph comes to the rescue again but this time, he’s saving Baby New Year. It airs Dec. 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2017 – Countdown to the new year with a bevy of stars and performances. It airs Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Pitbull’s New Year’s Revolution – The chart topping rapper will host this new holiday special to help viewers party into the new year. It airs Dec. 31 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly – The Voice host and Today show co-host and former Spice Girl Mel B welcome musical guests Alicia Keys, Pentatonix and Blake Shelton. It airs Dec. 31 at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

128th Rose Parade Presented by Honda – Who can avoid all this pomp and circumstance in Pasadena, Calif.? Don’t resist this flowery tradition when it airs Jan. 2 at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT on ABC.


Series

THE GREAT AMERICAN BAKING SHOW (ABC/Mark Bourdillion)

The Great American Baking Show (pictured) – Feast your eyes and stomachs on this two-hour season premiere, which kicks off Dec. 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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 on the line. This holiday offering airs for three consecutive weeks beginning Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Terry Crews Saves Christmas – On each episode, comedic actor Terry Crews will visit real people who aren’t great at celebrating the holidays and teach them how to step up their games in a festive way. Premieres Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.


Holiday Episodes

"Christmas Eve Eve" episode of NEW GIRL (Ray Mickshaw/FOX)

Bob’s Burgers – “The Last Gingerbread House on the Left,” Nov. 27, 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on Fox
The Powerpuff Girls – “Snow Month,” Dec. 1, 5 p.m. ET on Cartoon Network
Clarence – “Merry Moochmas,” Dec. 1, 5:30 p.m. ET on Cartoon Network
Teen Titans Go! – “Teen Titans Save Christmas,” Dec. 1, 6 p.m. ET on Cartoon Network
Regular Show – “Christmas in Space,” Dec. 1, 8 p.m. ET on Cartoon Network
Steven Universe – “Three Gems and a Baby,” Dec. 1, 8:30 p.m. ET on Cartoon Network
Lethal Weapon – “Jingle Bell Glock,” Dec. 7, 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox
The Simpsons – “The Nightmare After Krustmas,” Dec. 11, 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox
SuperMansion – “War on Christmas,” streams Dec. 8 on Crackle
Son of Zorn – “The War on Grafelnik,” Dec. 11, 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Fox
Family Guy – “How the Griffin Stole Christmas,” Dec. 11, 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Captain Latvia,” Dec. 13, 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox
American Housewife – “Krampus Katie,” Dec. 13, 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC
New Girl – “Christmas Eve Eve,” Dec. 13, 8:31 p.m. ET/PT on Fox
Fresh Off the Boat – “Where are the Giggles?,” Dec. 13, 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC
The Real O’Neals – “The Real Christmas,” Dec. 13, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC
The Goldbergs – “Han Ukkah Solo,” Dec. 14, 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC
Speechless – “C-H-O-Choir,” Dec. 14, 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC
Black-ish – “Just Christmas, Baby,” Dec. 14, 9:31 p.m. ET/PT on ABC
Dr. Ken – “A Park Family Christmas,” Dec. 16, 8:31 p.m. ET/PT on ABC

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