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Classic Holiday Movies and Specials on Television

Sure, you can watch many of these via DVD, Netflix, or Hulu anytime of the year. But there is something so nice about stumbling upon one of your favorite classic holiday movies on television and knowing that people across the country are enjoying it as well. Here’s a chronological guide so you don’t have to stumble so much. Note that these movies are listed under the date on which they first appear on television, but might have showings afterward as well:

"White Christmas," from 1954, is one of my family's all-time holiday favorites.Nov. 29

“Scrooged,” starring Bill Murray as a modern-day Ebenezer: Monday, Nov. 29 through Thursday, Dec. 2 at  7 p.m. and 9 p.m. each night on AMC.

Nov. 30

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” -- the animated classic: Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. on ABC

"Christmas in Rockefeller Center," with the lighting of the huge tree in the plaza: Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m on NBC

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” in which Rudolph is helped by Hermey the elf: Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m on CBS

Dec. 1

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” -- the big-budget film with Jim Carrey: Wednesday, Dec. 1 at 7 p..m. and 9:30 p.m. on ABC Family

Dec. 2

“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” with the voices of Fred Astaire and Mickey Rooney, telling the story of Santa vs. Burgermeister Meisterburger: Thursday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. on ABC and afterward several times on ABC Family 

Dec. 3 

“Polar Express,” with the voice of Tom Hanks as the conductor: Friday, Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on ABC Family 

Dec. 4

 “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” directed by Tim Burton: Saturday, Dec. 4 at 10 p.m. on ABC Family

Dec. 6 

“Jack Frost,” in which he wishes to become human:  Monday, Dec. 6 at 5 p.m. on ABC Family, as well as at 2 p.m and 10 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11 

Dec. 7 

“A Charlie Brown Christmas,” with the Nativity pageant and the puny tree:  Tuesday, Dec. 7 at  7 pm on ABC.

“Frosty’s Winter Wonderland,” in which Frosty gets married to Crystal: Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12 at 6 a.m. on ABC Family

Dec. 11 

“Frosty the Snowman,” the original one in which Frosty is brought to life by a magician’s hat: Saturday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. on CBS 

“It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Red: Saturday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. on NBC

“Frosty Returns,” a newer edition in which Frosty is voiced by John Goodman: Saturday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. on CBS

“White Christmas,” with Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and the great song “Sisters”: Saturday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. and 9:45 pm. on AMC, as well as 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 12, plus a number of showings after on AMC.

Dec. 13

“Holiday Inn,” in which Bing Crosby first croons “White Christmas.” Also with Fred Astaire: Monday, Dec. 13 at 12:30 a.m. on AMC.

Dec. 16

"A Charlie Brown Christmas": On Thursday, Dec. 16 at 9:30 p.m. on ABC

Dec. 17 

“Holiday Affair,” starring Janet Leigh and Robert Mitchum is an undiscovered romantic holiday gem from 1950: Friday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. on TCM.

“Little Women,” with a young Elizabeth Taylor: Friday, Dec. 17 at 10:30 p.m. on TCM.

“Miracle on 34th Street,” starring a young Natalie Wood: Friday, Dec. 17 at 9:15 p.m. on AMC.

Dec. 19 

“Scrooge,” starring Albert Finney in a version from 1970: Sunday, Dec. 19 at 11:30 a.m. on TCM.

Dec. 20 

“Christmas in Connecticut,” a romantic comedy with Barbara Stanwyck as a 1940s version of Martha Stewart: Monday, Dec. 20 at 11:30 a.m. on AMC

“Shop Around the Corner,” with Jimmy Stewart, came before “You’ve Got Mail” with Tom Hanks: Monday, Dec. 20 at 9 p.m. on TCM.

Dec. 24

"It's a Wonderful Life": Friday, Dec. 24 at 7 p.m. on NBC.

“A Christmas Story” -- “You’ll shoot your eye out!:” -- Starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 24, TBS runs this classic comedy for 24 hours straight. 

“The Bishop’s Wife,” starring Cary Grant: Friday, Dec. 24 at 7 p.m. on TCM.

"Love Actually," Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson and others star in this London-set ensemble: Friday, Dec. 24 at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on Lifetime.

Dec. 25

“Meet Me in St. Louis,” in which Judy Garland tears your heart out when she sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”: Saturday, Dec. 25 at 1 a.m. on TCM.

“Little Women,” starring Katharine Hepburn as Jo: Saturday, Dec. 25 at 5 a.m. on TCM.

“A Christmas Carol,” the 1938 version: Saturday, Dec. 25 at 10:45 a.m. on TCM.

"Scrooged," starring Bill Murray: Saturday, Dec. 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on AMC

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Reader Comments (3)

How about Love Actually? Not exactly a family movie, but great to watch when wrapping presents and no kids around! One of my new holiday traditions. White Christmas is my NUMBER 1 FAVORITE!!!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Jen ... Good suggestion! I'll check the listings to see when "Love Actually" is on in December. Honestly, several of these movies aren't really about Christmas -- like "Little Women" and "Meet Me in St. Louis" -- but they have Christmas scenes, and I guess because they are focused on family, they are thought of as holiday favorites.
"White Christmas" is so wonderfully cheesy that even the numbers I hate, like "Mr. Bones," I can't help but love. But being the oldest of three girls, we girls particularly look forward to the song "Sisters" and know all the lyrics. I freaked out when the Naperville Carillon played it last summer!

November 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterTara Burghart

My faves include Nat'l Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Elf. I watch White Christmas every year too!

December 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen R

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