Guide to Christmas Television Viewing

It used to be that you had to wait until the one night of the year when Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Frosty the Snowman or The Grinch Who Stole Christmas was on. Then Freeform (which originated as ABC Family) started their “Countdown to Christmas” and it was absolutely must see viewing. Now multiple channels show our favorite holiday movies and specials multiple times each season for your viewing pleasure. So much so, that you need a Guide to Christmas Television Viewing.

Guide to Christmas Television ViewingWhat started with those one-night-a-year network broadcasts before moving to Freeform, has now extended to Hallmark, Lifetime, TCM, and AMC. Hallmark and Lifetime spend the lead up to the holiday showing made-for-TV romance movies with a holiday twist. While these all typically follow the same formula, (girl meets boy, girl starts to like boy, a misunderstanding happens causing the girl to get mad at the boy, girl realizes her mistake and everyone lives happily ever after) they are always a fun way to spend two hours. Similar to Freeform, TCM and AMC both have a great combination of classic holiday specials and movies. And when I say classic, I mean CLASSIC. We are talking everything from 1938’s A Christmas Carol to White Christmas to It’s a Wonderful Life. Even modern classic like The Santa Clause movies, Elf and Jim Carrey’s version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas have a place in the line-ups.

When it comes to all those specials we watched as a kid, Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown and the Little Drummer boy, they are still aired only a few times a year. The guide below will show you when all your favorite Christmas special and movies will be aired. (Some channels, like AMC, have not listed their full schedule yet.)

Here’s the thing, I didn’t list all the Hallmark and Lifetime holiday movies because, well frankly, there are just too many. You can find their listings here:

Hallmark                                             Lifetime

Guide to Christmas Television Viewing

Friday, November 23

Frosty the Snowman – CBS – 8:00pm
Santa Claus is Coming to Town – ABC – 8:00pm
Frosty Returns – CBS – 8:30pm

Saturday, November 24

The Santa Clause – Freeform – 7:45pm
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Freeform – 9:50pm

Sunday, November 25

The Santa Clause – Freeform – 4:50pm
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Freeform – 6:55pm
Holiday Inn – TCM – 10:00pm

Monday, November 26

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory – AMC – 11:30am & 4:40pm
Elf – AMC – 7:00pm & 9:00pm
The Nightmare Before Christmas – Freeform – 7:15pm
Miracle on 34th Street – AMC – 11:00pm

Tuesday, November 27

White Christmas – AMC – 12:00pm
Miracle on 34th Street – AMC – 2:45pm
The Nightmare Before Christmas – Freeform – 5:05pm
The Santa Claus 2 – AMC – 7:00pm & 9:30pm
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – CBS – 8:00pm

Wednesday, November 28

Planes, Trains & Automobiles – AMC – 2:30pm & 11:30pm
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – AMC – 7:00pm & 9:15pm
Disney’s A Christmas Carol – Freeform – 8:50pm

Thursday, November 29

The Polar Express – AMC – 7:00pm & 9:00pm

Saturday, December 1

Christmas With the Kranks – Freeform – 3:20pm
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Freeform – 9:15pm
The Bishop’s Wife – TCM – 9:45pm

Sunday, December 2

A Christmas Carol – TCM – 8:30am

Tuesday, December 4

The Santa Clause – Freeform – 6:50pm
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Freeform – 8:55pm

Wednesday, December 5

Guide to Christmas Television Viewing

Mickey’s Christmas Carol – Freeform – 9:00am
Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Freeform – 4:05pm
The Nightmare Before Christmas – Freeform – 5:10pm
The Santa Claus 3: The Escape Claus – Freeform – 6:50pm
Christmas With the Kranks – Freeform – 8:55pm

Thursday, December 6

Mickey’s Christmas Carol – Freeman – 7:00am
Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Freeform – 2:05pm
The Nightmare Before Christmas – Freeform – 3:10pm
Christmas With the Kranks – Freeform – 4:50pm
Disney’s Pixar’s Toy Story – Freeform – 6:55pm
A Charlie Brown Christmas – CBS – 8:00pm
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas – TBS – 8:00pm
Disney’s Pixar’s Toy Story 2 – Freeform – 8:55pm

Friday, December 7

Disney’s A Christmas Carol – Freeform – 9:50pm

Jack Frost – AMC – 2:15pm

Frosty’s Winterwonderland – AMC – 3:30pm

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – AMC – 4:00pm

Rudolph’s Shiny New Year – AMC – 4:30pm

The Year Without a Santa Claus – AMC – 5:45pm

The Year Without a Santa Claus – AMC – 10:00pm

Rudolph’s Shiny New Year – AMC – 11:15pm

Saturday, December 8

The Little Drummer Boy – Freeform – 7:00am
Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too – Freeform – 7:30am
White Christmas – AMC – 11:30am

Miracle on 34th Street – AMC – 2:15pm

Disney’s A Christmas Carol – Freeform – 2:20pm
Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Freeform – 4:25pm
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Freeform – 8:00pm
Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding: Holiday Magic – Freeform – 8:00pm
Holiday Inn – TCM – 8:00pm
The Santa Clause 2 – AMC – 8:30pm

Frosty the Snowman – CBS – 9:00pm
The Santa Clause – Freeform – 9:00pm
Frosty Returns – CBS – 9:30pm

The Polar Express – AMC – 11:00pm
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Freeform – 11:00pm

Sunday, December 9

Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too – Freeform – 7:00am
Deck the Halls – Freeform – 7:30am
Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Freeform- 9:30am
Christmas With the Kranks – Freeform – 2:45pm
The Santa Clause – Freeform – 4:50pm
The Santa Clause 2 – AMC – 6:00pm

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Freeform – 6:55pm

The Polar Express – AMC – 8:30pm
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Freeform – 9:00pm

Monday, December 10

The Nightmare Before Christmas – Freeform – 4:40pm
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Freeform – 6:20pm

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – AMC – 7:00pm

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – AMC – 9:15pm

Tuesday, December 11

Planes, Trains & Automobiles – AMC – 11:30am

Prancer – AMC – 1:30pm

The Nightmare Before Christmas – Freeform – 2:40pm

Frosty’s Winter Wonderland – AMC – 4:00pm

Rudolph’s Shiny New Year – AMC – 4:30pm

The Year Without a Santa Claus – AMC – 5:45pm

Elf – AMC – 7:00pm

Elf – AMC – 9:00pm

Wednesday, December 12

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas – Freeform – 1:30pm
Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas – Freeform – 3:00pm

The Santa Clause 2 – AMC – 7:00pm
Disney’s A Christmas Carol – Freeform – 9:00pm

The Santa Clause 2 – AMC – 9:30pm

Thursday, December 13

Miracle on 34th Street – AMC – 7:00pm

Disney’s Prep & Landing – ABC – 8:00pm
Disney’s Prep & Landing 2: Naughty vs. Nice – ABC – 8:30pm
The Santa Clause – Freeform – 8:55pm

Miracle on 34th Street – AMC – 9:15pm

White Christmas – AMC – 11:30pm

Friday, December 14

Rise of the Guardians – FX – 6:00pm

The Polar Express – AMC – 7:00pm

The Santa Clause – Freeform – 7:20pm

The Santa Clause 2 – AMC – 9:00pm

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Freeform – 9:25pm

Saturday, December 15

Guide to Christmas Television Viewing

Mickey’s Christmas Carol – Freeform – 7:30am
Miracle on 34th Street – AMC – 9:15am

Prancer – AMC – 11:30am

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Freeform – 12:35pm
Disney’s Pixar’s Toy Story – Freeform – 2:40pm
Rise of the Guardians – FX – 4:00pm

The Polar Express – AMC – 4:00pm

Disney’s Pixar’s Toy Story 2 – Freeform – 4:40pm
The Santa Clause 2 – AMC – 6:00pm

Disney’s Pixar’s Toy Story 3 – Freeform – 6:45pm

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – AMC – 8:30pm
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Who Stole Christmas – Freeform – 9:15pm

Miracle on 34th Street – AMC – 10:45pm

Sunday, December 16

Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Freeform – 11:00am
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – AMC – 6:00pm

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Freeform – 6:35pm
The Sound of Music – ABC – 7:00pm
Elf – AMC – 8:15pm

Disney’s A Christmas Carol – Freeform – 9:15pm

Elk – AMC – 10:15pm

Monday, December 17

Rudolph’s Shiny New Year – AMC – 3:30pm

The Year Without a Santa Claus – AMC – 4:45pm

Disney’s A Christmas Carol – Freeform – 5:10pm
The Santa Clause 2 – AMC – 7:00pm

The Nightmare Before Christmas – Freeform – 7:15pm

The Santa Clause 2 – AMC – 9:30pm

Tuesday, December 18

Mickey’s Christmas Carol – Freeform – 7:30am
The Nightmare Before Christmas – Freeform – 10:00am
The Polar Express – AMC – 7:00pm

The Santa Clause – Freeform – 8:55pm

The Polar Express – AMC – 9:00pm

Wednesday, December 19

Planes, Trains & Automobiles – AMC – 3:00pm

The Santa Clause – Freeform – 5:05pm
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – AMC – 7:00pm

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Freeform – 7:10pm
Olaf’s Frozen Adventure – ABC – 8:00pm
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer – CW – 8:00pm
Shrek the Halls – ABC- 8:30pm

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – AMC – 9:15pm

Thursday, December 20

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas – Freeform – 8:30am
White Christmas – AMC – 9:00am

Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas – Freeform – 10:00am
Miracle on 34th Street – AMC – 11:45am

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Freeform – 3:30pm
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town – Freeform – 5:35pm
The Santa Clause 2 – AMC – 7:00pm

A Charlie Brown Christmas – ABC – 8:00pm

The Santa Clause 2 – AMC – 9:30pm

Friday, December 21

Guide to Christmas Television ViewingMickey’s Christmas Carol – Freeform – 1:30am
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas – Freeform – 7:00am
Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas – Freeform – 8:30am
Miracle on 34th Street – AMC – 10:00am

Mickey’s Christmas Carol – Freeform – 11:00am
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town – Freeform – 11:30am
Jack Frost – AMC – 2:15pm

Rudolph’s Shiny New Year – AMC – 3:30pm

The Year Without a Santa Claus – AMC – 4:45pm

The Santa Clause – Freeform – 5:05pm

The Polar Express – AMC – 6:00pm
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Freeform – 7:10pm

Elf – AMC – 8:00pm
I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown – ABC – 8:00pm
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Freeform – 9:15pm

Saturday, December 22

The Santa Clause – Freeform – 9:40am
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Freeform – 11:50am
Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story That Time Forgot – Freeform – 1:55pm
Disney’s Prep & Landing – Freeform – 2:25pm
Disney’s Prep & Landing 2: Naughty vs. Nice – Freeform – 2:55pm
The Nightmare Before Christmas – Freeform – 3:25pm
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) – Freeform – 5:05pm
The Santa Clause – Freeform – 7:45pm
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Freeform – 9:50pm

Sunday, December 23

The Little Drummer Boy – Freeform – 7:00am
Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story That Time Forgot  – Freeform 11:45am
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town – Freeform – 12:15pm
The Nightmare Before Christmas – Freeform – 1:20pm
The Santa Clause  – Freeform – 5:05pm
Holiday Inn – TCM – 6:00pm
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Freeform – 7:10pm
Disney’s Prep & Landing – ABC – 8:00pm
Disney’s Prep & Landing 2: Naughty vs. Nice – ABC – 8:30pm
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) – Freeform – 9:15pm

Monday, December 24

Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas – Freeform – 11:00am
The Nightmare Before Christmas – Freeform – 12:30pm
Jingle All The Way 2 – Freeform – 2:05pm
Disney’s A Christmas Carol – Freeform – 4:10pm
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) – Freeform – 6:15pm
It’s a Wonderful Life – NBC – 8:00pm
A Christmas Story – TBS – 8:00pm
The Bishop’s Wife – TCM – 8:00pm
The Santa Clause – Freeform – 8:55pm
A Christmas Story – Freeform – 10:00pm
A Christmas Carol (1938) – TCM – 10:00pm

Tuesday, December 25

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Freeform – 12:00am
A Christmas Story – TBS – 12:00am
A Christmas Story – TBS –  2:00am
A Christmas Story – TBS – 4:00am
A Christmas Story – TBS – 6:00am
Disney’s Prep & Landing  – Freeform – 7:00am
Disney’s Prep & Landing 2: Naughty vs. Nice – Freeform -7:30am
Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas  – Freeform – 8:00am
A Christmas Story – TBS-  8:00am
Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade – ABC – 10:00am
A Christmas Story – TBS – 10:00am
The Nightmare Before Christmas  – Freeform – 11:00am
A Christmas Story – TBS – 12:00pm
Disney’s A Christmas Carol – Freeform – 12:40pm
A Christmas Story – TBS – 2:00pm
A Christmas Story – TBS – 4:00pm
The Santa Clause – Freeform – 4:45pm
A Christmas Story TBS – 6:00pm
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Freeform – 6:50pm

As I said, AMC’s schedule hasn’t been fully released yet but you can get a gist of their line-up with this listing of their movies and specials:

Holiday Films:

  • Elf (2003)Guide to Christmas Television Viewing
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
  • Polar Express, The (2004)
  • Santa Clause 2, The (2002)
  • Jingle All the Way (1996)
  • Prancer (1989)
  • Gremlins (1984)
  • Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)
  • All I Want For Christmas (1991)
  • Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
  • Christmas in Connecticut (1992)
  • Christmas Story 2, A (2012)
  • Dennis the Menace Christmas, A (2007)
  • Nativity Story, The (2006)
  • Samantha: An American Girl Holiday (2004)
  • To Grandmother’s House We Go (1992)
  • White Christmas (1954)
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  • Sons of Mistletoe, The (2001)
  • Holiday to Remember, A (1995)
  • Nothing Like the Holidays (2008)
  • One Magic Christmas (1985)
  • Christmas Star, The (1986)
  • Scoot & Kassie’s Christmas Adventure (2013)
  • 12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue (2012)

Holiday Specials:

  • TV Premiere: Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You (2017)
  • Year Without a Santa Claus, The (1974)
  • ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (1974)
  • Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (1979)
  • Rudolph’s Shiny New Year (1976)
  • Frosty’s Winter Wonderland (1976)
  • Jack Frost (1979)
  • Donkey’s Caroling Christmas-tacular (2011)
  • Merry Madagascar (2009)
  • Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper, The (2005)
  • First Christmas, The (1975)
  • Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold, The (1981)
  • Life & Adventures of Santa Claus, The (1985)
  • Little Drummer Boy Book II, The (1976)
  • Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (1977)
  • Pinocchio’s Christmas (1980)
  • Nuttiest Nutcracker, The (1999)
  • Buster & Chauncey’s Silent Night (1998)

Family Favorite Films:

  • Happy Feet (2006)
  • Happy Feet 2 (2011)
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2011)
  • Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006)
  • Miracle (2004)
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
  • Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)
  • Joyful Noise (2012)
  • Last Holiday (2006)

NOTE: One thing you will notice about AMC’s lineup is they are the only place you will see The Santa Clause 2 which starts aring November 27. However, Freeform is the only place you will see The Santa Clause and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. That means you are going to have to jump back and forth see all three movies in order.

The good thing is you really don’t have to wait for December for viewing to begin. Several channels such as Hallmark and Freeform have already begun their “Countdown to the Countdown” and are airing some fun movies and specials to get you ready for the season. So run, don’t walk to your local listings to find those holiday classics on right now.

Let us know your holiday favorite by tweeting us @TeamMom365.

Sue Nowicki is an alumna of the 2014/15 Disney Parks Moms Panel. She is a team mom extraordinaire who has filled her time serving as secretary, navigator, head cheerleader, treasurer, athletic trainer and team psychologist for her daughter’s travel sports team for over 15 years before becoming a team owner. You can follow her on Twitter at @TeamMom365.

 

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Guide to Christmas Television Viewing