The Ultimate Holiday TV Guide
Get Your Cozies On
Need to know when and where your favorite holiday movie plays on television this year? Keep reading. Our Holiday TV Guide spills the beans...
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Vying with Elf for the title of Funniest Christmas Movie Ever, Christmas Vacation is a 1989 movie starring Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, Beverly D. Angelo, and a host of character actors. Clark Griswold loves Christmas and all the festivities that go along with it. This year, though, the entire extended family comes to visit and proceed to drive him crazy. The final straw comes when, rather than a sizable work bonus which he intends to apply towards a pool in the backyard, the boss gives all employees a Jelly of the Month subscription. Things go downhill shortly thereafter. Airs on ABC Family at 10:00 PM on December 5. See the IMDB listing entry.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Anchored by Matt Lauer, Ann Curry, and Al Roker, this annual holiday procession of floats fills the skies of Manhattan for the 85th year. Scheduled entertainers are Avril Lavigne, Neil Diamond, Mary J. Blige, Rodney Atkins, Shelby Lynne, and more. For those who might not have seen it before, expect a focus on cartoon characters like Scooby Doo and Peanuts, while millions of people from around the world line the streets and cheer them on. Airs live on Thanksgiving Day, November 26 at 9:00 AM on NBC.
It’s a Wonderful Life
If ever a movie was less expected to become a holiday classic, it would be this one. Released by famed director Frank Capra in 1946, It’s a Wonderful Life was a box office dud, and no one paid much attention to it until it began airing around Christmas-time in the 1960’s. Starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, the movie plot involves a man so disenchanted with his lot in life that he’s ready to commit suicide on Christmas Eve - that is until an angel named Clarence arrives to show him what the world would have been like if he had never been born. Airs at 8:00 PM on December 5th on NBC. Here’s the IMDB entry.
As annoying as an adult as Macaulay Culkin might have grown into, he will always have a place in holiday lore for playing the role of eight-year-old Kevin in Home Alone. Kevin is your average brat who gets banished to his room on the eve of the family’s big European Christmas trip. Of course, in the chaos of the morning, they accidentally leave without him. This surprisingly violent film was released in 1990 and has been a staple in holiday movie rotation ever since. On Rotten Tomatoes, the audience liked it much more than critics. Airs on December 1 at 8:00 PM on AMC. See the Home Alone IMDB page here.
A Christmas Carol
This feast for the eyes recreation of the Charles Dickens classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge stars funny man Jim Carrey as the title character. The plot is well-known - it’s about a miserly man finding his missing soul after being visited by the ghosts’ of Christmas past, present, and future. This animated 2009 release has found a place among modern holiday classics. Received average ratings on Rotten Tomatoes but, all in all, a worthy retelling of the tale. Airs on ABC Family on December 1 at 11:00 AM. Click here for the IMDB entry.
The Polar Express
Though it takes a while to get going and the plot never seems to amount to enough to hang a whole movie on, The Polar Express is a 2004 computer-animated treat for the eyes. Adapted from an award-winning book, Robert Zemeckis (of Back to the Future fame) wrote the screenplay for this Tom Hanks vehicle. With just an average Rotten Tomatoes rating, the film should have been better than it was. Still, it’s as atmospheric a piece as you’ll find. Airs December 1 on ABC Family at 7:00 pm. Click here for the IMDB entry.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
While there is a shorter animated version of this Dr. Suess holiday tale, we prefer the live-action, full-length feature starring Jim Carrey beneath an amazing amount of grinchy makeup. You probably know how it goes already. The Grinch’s heart was three sizes too small, which made him resent the holiday festivities going on in the nearby town of Whoville. With the assistance of his trusty dog, he descends upon the town on Christmas Eve and steals every present and tree to be found. Of course, he repents when the spirit of Christmas finally makes its way into his calculating soul. How the Grinch Stole Christmas airs on ABC Family at 9:00 PM on December 1. See the IMDB entry.
The Santa Clause
This 2004 Christmas movie starring Tim Allen as an average Joe who becomes Santa Clause by accident was so popular it now numbers three in the series. Allen plays a suburban single father who isn’t holding down his dad duties very well. When the real St. Nick suffers an unfortunate and deadly accident whilst delivering gifts to Allen’s son, the wayward dad is forced to take over the rest of the night’s deliveries. This film is a comedy with heart that appeals to kids and adults alike. You can find it airing on ABC Family at 8:30 PM on December 2. Check out the IMDB page.
This laugh-out-loud 2004 movie stars Will Ferrell as a 6’4” human raised by elves. With high audience and critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes, you’re in for a treat if you haven’t seen Elf yet. Co-starring James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, and Zooey Deschanel, there’s plenty of star power to move this tale along. The plot revolves around Ferrell’s journey from the North Pole to New York City to find his father. Predictably, chaos ensues at every step along the way. Airs on ABC Family at 7:30 PM on December 4. Check out the IMDB listing here.
Obviously there are other movies in the universe worth watching at Christmas time, but they didn't make our Holiday TV Guide, did they?