Very few things in life are as satisfying as cuddling up on the couch (blanket wrapped) watching holiday television.
Charlie Brown. Rudolph. Frosty. The Grinch. Any good Christmas season wouldn’t be the same without them.
A complete list of seasonal TV would ruin your eyes (but it’s here if you really want it). Instead, we offer up the biggest and brightest of the holidays for your viewing (and planning) pleasure.
“Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” — 8 p.m. ABC. The 1970 Rankin/Bass classic has Fred Astaire and Mickey Rooney, but more so it’s got the song, “Put One Foot in Front of the Other.”
“Frosty the Snowman” — 8 p.m. CBS. Another Rankin/Bass classic, this traditionally animated story features Jimmy Durante as the narrator. A living snowman and a little girl struggle to elude a greedy magician who is after the snowman’s magic hat.
“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” — 8 p.m. NBC. The 1966 animated tale (illustrated by the great Chuck Jones) tells how a mean-spirited loner learns the true meaning of Christmas. Featuring the voices of Boris Karloff and June Foray.
“Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” — 8 p.m. The CW. What started as a novelty song in the early 1980s by Elmo & Pasty was turned into a 2000 cartoon about a kid who embarks on a journey to find his missing grandmother and prove that Santa Claus is real.
“Frosty Returns” — 8:30 p.m. CBS. This time Jonathan Winters takes over as narrator and John Goodman voices Frosty.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” — 8 p.m. USA. The 1946 black-and-white classic stars James Stewart as George Bailey, the man who is show, by his guardian angel Clarence, how much his life impacts others.
“A Christmas Story” — 8 and 10 p.m. TNT. What some might call the definitive “Christmas movie,” this is the 1983 film with Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker, the boy who desperately wants a Red Ryder BB gun under the tree. It’s a rare early airing this year, as TBS usually saves it for a 24-hour run starting on Christmas Eve.
“Robbie the Reindeer: Hooves of Fire” — 8 p.m. CBS. One of three stop-motion BBC Christmas specials, this tells the story of Rudolph’s son who doesn’t have a glowing nose, he has a GPS.
“The Story of Santa Claus” — 9 p.m. CBS. This 1996 animated show features the voices of Betty White, Ed Asner, and Tim Curry.
“Elf” — 7 and 9 p.m. AMC. Will Ferrell is Buddy, a young man who discovers that while he may not have been born an elf, he has the true heart of one.
“Miracle on 34th Street” — 11 p.m. AMC. There have been many versions, but the 1947 original, with Natalie Wood, is the best.
“White Christmas” — 1:15 a.m. AMC. In this 1954 musical, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye play former Army soldiers who help their former commanding officer by bringing music — and snow — to his failing Vermont inn.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” — 8 p.m. CBS. The 1964 Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated show is where it seems like all Christmas TV began, with Rudolph, Hermey, Yukon Cornelius, and the Island of Misfit Toys.
“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” — 7 p.m. AMC. Chevy Chase’s third installment of the Griswolds arrived in 1989, and followed Clark bedazzling his house and welcoming his relatives, including the unexpected arrival of Eddie (Randy Quaid).
“86th Annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center” — 8 p.m. NBC. Stars come together for America’s annual tree-lighting tradition.
“The Polar Express” — 7 p.m. AMC. In 2004, Tom Hanks lent his voice to several characters in Robert Zemeckis’ retelling of how, on Christmas Eve, a young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole.
“Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” — 8 p.m. ABC. A 2014 Christmas-themed TV special where Anna and Elsa host a celebration for all of Arendelle, but find they have no family traditions of their own. Olaf teams up with Sven on a merry mission to find some.
“Toy Story That Time Forgot” — 8:30 p.m. ABC. This 2014 special features most of the original cast in a post-Christmas play-date where the toys have to go up against fearsome and aggressive new dino toys.
Rankin/Bass marathon on AMC — It all begins at 6 a.m. with the 1974 offering “The Year Without a Santa Claus.” Other titles on the slate include “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year,” “Rudolph & Frosty’s Christmas in July,” “The Little Drummer Boy: Book II,” “The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold,” “Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey,” “Jack Frost,” “Frosty’s Winter Wonderland,” “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “The Story of the First Christmas Snow,” “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus”
“A Charlie Brown Christmas” — 8 p.m. ABC. Anyone who says it’s Christmas without seeing this special is either lying or has never seen it. Charles Schultz set the standard with his 1965 story about Charlie Brown learning the true meaning of Christmas from Linus.
“Elf’s Story: The Elf on the Shelf” — 8:30 p.m. TBS. Chippey the scout elf is assigned to help a young boy rediscover the magic of Christmas.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” — 8 p.m. CBS. Re-airing (see Nov. 27)
“Holiday Inn” — 8 p.m. TCM. This 1942 movie was the first the classic song was performed on film, with master crooner Bing Crosby singing.
“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” — 9 p.m. Freeform. For those who prefer live action, this 2000 Ron Howard movie has Jim Carrey mugging it up as the green meanie.
“Disney’s Prep & Landing” — 8 p.m. ABC.
“Disney’s Prep & Landing 2: Naughty vs. Nice” — 8:30 p.m. ABC.
“The Sound of Music” — 7 p.m. ABC. The 1965 classic musical features Julie Andrews as a nun who becomes nanny to an Austrian man’s children.
“Shrek the Halls” — 8:30 p.m. ABC. This 2007 special features original cast members. At Donkey’s urging, Shrek reluctantly promises Princess Fiona a special Christmas surprise.
“A Charlie Brown Christmas” — 8 p.m. ABC. Re-airing (see. Dec. 6)