12 Holiday TV Specials to Watch This Month
With the holiday season already underway, plenty of festive movies and television events are set to hit the small screens in December. In addition to the annual reruns of favorite flicks like Elf and Miracle on 34th Street, here are 12 more holiday specials to tune into this month.
1. Toy Story That Time Forgot, December 2
The brand new holiday TV special from Pixar will bring back all of your longtime favorite characters from the Toy Story franchise. The holiday-themed adventure takes place two days after Christmas, with the gang meeting the newly introduced toys. In this special, Trixie the Triceratops (Kristen Schaal) takes the lead, with original stars Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen) in supporting roles. When she’s taken on a play date along with Buzz and Woody, Wallace Shawn’s Rex, and an angel-kitty Christmas ornament (Emma Hudak), she makes friends with mysterious toys called the Battlesaurs, who turn out to be less nice than she thought. Trixie, Woody, and the rest of the crew must then figure out how to get back to owner Bonnie’s room. The special aired on ABC on December 2, so keep an eye out for it to show up online or again on TV.
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas, December 2
Nothing will get you feeling the Christmas spirit faster than this 1965 holiday classic, which follows Charlie and the Peanuts gang as they discover the true meaning of Christmas. The acclaimed special, which has won both an Emmy and a Peabody, has become a staple during the holiday season, airing every year since its premiere. Plus, the jazz soundtrack has now become one of the most commercially successful holiday albums ever, going triple platinum in the United States. In keeping with its past tradition, ABC is airing the special twice during the weeks leading up to Christmas — the first airing was on December 2 at 8:30 p.m., so keep a lookout for the second airing on December 16 at 8 p.m.
3. Christmas in Rockefeller Center, December 3
Tune into the annual lighting of the Christmas tree at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The Christmas in Rockefeller Center special is hosted by Today show anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, and Natalie Morales. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, Cyndi Lauper, Sara Bareilles, Idina Menzel, LeAnn Rimes, Pentatonix, and Trisha Yearwood will perform favorite Christmas and holiday classics at this year’s ceremony. The special airs on NBC at 8 p.m.
4. How Murray Saved Christmas, December 5
This new hour-long animated special is a heartwarming and funny musical based on the best-selling children’s book of the same name. When Santa (Kevin Michael Richardson) can’t deliver the toys one Christmas, cranky deli owner Murray Weiner (Jerry Stiller) is forced to fill in with the help of Edison Elf (Sean Hayes). Of course, things don’t go as expected. Dennis Haysbert narrates this holiday tale, airing on NBC at 8 p.m.
5. A Very Grammy Christmas, December 5
The upcoming special will feature musical performances from some of the biggest names in music today, including recent chart-topping artists like Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, Tim McGraw, and Pharrell Williams. In addition to the slew of scheduled A-list performances, all of the nominees for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year will be announced live during the special. The show airs on CBS at 9 p.m.
6. Wishin’ and Hopin’, December 6
Based on the New York Times best-selling Christmas novel by Wally Lamb, this new Christmas special, stars Molly Ringwald and features Chevy Chase as the narrator. Set in the 1960s, Wishin’ and Hopin’ is the story of 10-year-old Felix Funicello (Wyatt Ralff) who is doing his best to navigate fifth grade at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School. Their family’s claim to fame is their cousin, Annette Funicello (Krysta Rodriguez), the famous teen star and Mouseketeer. The sudden arrivals of a substitute teacher (Ringwald) and a feisty Russian student, Zhenya, along with the pending date of the dreaded Christmas pageant, will make the holiday season even more exciting. The small screen adaptation airs on Lifetime at 8 p.m.
7. I Love Lucy Christmas Special, December 7
The one-hour special featuring two newly back-to-back classic episodes of the 1950s series — including sitcom’s best-loved holiday outings, the “Christmas Episode” and the popular “Chocolate Factory” episode, in which Lucy and Ethel desperately try to keep pace with an assembly line of sweets. The special is scheduled to air on CBS at 8 p.m.
8. Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas, December 9
This animated saga is based on the now-favorite 2003 Will Ferrell holiday film. In the new stop-motion, musical Christmas special, Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons voices the titular role. The newest take on Buddy’s hilarious story features Santa himself narrating to Buddy’s travels to the Big Apple to meet his father and bringing joy to everyone he meets through the power of Christmas cheer. The film airs at 7 p.m. on NBC.
9. Michael Buble’s Christmas in New York, December 17
Grammy Award-winning singer Michael Bublé celebrates the holiday season with his fourth annual NBC Christmas special. The popular crooner belts out favorite Christmas tunes. The singer will be accompanied by his band for an “unplugged” series of festive songs, some of which were requested by his social media followers. Barbra Streisand, Ariana Grande, Miss Piggy, and The Rockettes will also join Bublé for the hour-long celebration. It’s scheduled to air at 8 p.m.
10. The iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2014, December 18
Some of today’s most popular artists, including Taylor Swift, Iggy Azalea, Sam Smith, Maroon 5, Meghan Trainor, Pharrell Williams, 5 Seconds of Summer, Jessie J, and OneRepublic will perform in an early December concert at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. If a ticket to the live show just wasn’t in your budget this year, you can still tune into the show when it airs at 8 p.m on the CW.
11. 24 Hours of A Christmas Story, December 24
TBS’s mega marathon of the classic Christmas movie returns on Christmas Eve. Based on the short stories of famed humorist Jean Shepherd, A Christmas Story follows the mischievous adventures of a young boy who longs for a special Christmas gift — a Red Ryder BB gun. This is the 11th consecutive year that the marathon will run on TBS. As in past years, the network will run the movie starting at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve until the same time on Christmas day.
12. Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration, December 25
Want to put a Disney spin on your Christmas festivities? Tune into the 31st annual parade from Disney’s two U.S. theme parks, in California and in Florida. The parade will feature colorful floats, musical guests (like Train, Trey Songz, and Lucy Hale), classic Christmas carols and friendly Disney characters. This year’s show also has a “Frozen” twist, starring everyone’s new favorite princess sisters, Anna and Elsa, and their loyal snowy sidekick Olaf. The parade will air on ABC at 10 a.m.