Your guide to this week’s hol­i­day TV spe­cials

The News & Observer (Sunday) - - Arts Living - BY BROOKE CAIN [email protected]­sob­server.com

We’re back with our 2018 guide to the most won­der­ful (TV) time of the year.

Sev­eral pro­grams al­ready have aired, but De­cem­ber is just get­ting started. Now is the time when hol­i­day spe­cials are in heavy ro­ta­tion.

We’ll be up­dat­ing this guide at new­sob­server.com through­out the month as more spe­cials pop­u­late the sched­ule. We’re stick­ing mostly to prime-time pro­gram­ming on broad­cast net­works and ba­sic ca­ble. We’ll alert you to the air­ings of “Ru­dolph the RedNosed Rein­deer” and “Grinch,” and movie clas­sics like “Elf,” “Na­tional Lam­poon’s Christ­mas Va­ca­tion” and “It’s a Won­der­ful Life.”

Also note that the Hall­mark Chan­nel and the Hall­mark Movies & Mys­ter­ies Chan­nel are show­ing Christ­mas movies pretty much 24/7 now, and we’re also get­ting orig­i­nal Christ­mas movies from Life­time, BET and ION. We’ll list new ones here, but not the re­peats.

If you miss a broad­cast net­work air­ing of some­thing like “A Char­lie Brown Christ­mas” or “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” don’t worry, be­cause those will likely air mul­ti­ple times in De­cem­ber. Check back with us of­ten.

SUN­DAY, DEC. 2 “The Christ­mas Pact” (8 p.m., Life­time) - In this orig­i­nal new movie, Ben and Sadie have made a pact since child­hood to al­ways keep the spirit of Christ­mas alive in their hearts. “A Ma­jes­tic Christ­mas” (8 p.m.,

Hall­mark) - In this new Hall­mark movie, Nell’s bracelet slips into a Sal­va­tion Army pot and when she tries to re­trieve it, Con­nor ac­cuses her of steal­ing. Later, Nell, an ar­chi­tect, learns he’s the client who wants to turn her home­town’s Ma­jes­tic The­ater into a mul­ti­plex. Though Nell and the town want to pre­serve The Ma­jes­tic, she and Con­nor still de­velop an at­trac­tion. “Na­tional Lam­poon’s Christ­mas

Va­ca­tion” (8:15 p.m., AMC) - The Gris­wolds spend the hol­i­day with rel­a­tives in this 1999 hol­i­day com­edy, in­clud­ing a coun­try cousin who ar­rives in an RV. It stars Chevy Chase, Bev­erly D’An­gelo, Randy Quaid and Diane Ladd. “Once Upon a Christ­mas Mir­a­cle” (9

p.m., Hall­mark Movies & Mys­ter­ies) In this new movie, a woman is told she has a few months to live with­out a new liver, and a kind stranger hears of her plight and finds he is a per­fect match. The two meet and their friend­ship turns into a ro­mance. “Christ­mas Cupid’s Ar­row” (9 p.m.,

ION) - In this new ION movie, an English lit pro­fes­sor has a long his­tory of pick­ing the wrong men. Af­ter her younger sis­ter an­nounces she’s preg­nant, the pro­fes­sor de­cides she’s go­ing to make a real ef­fort to find Mr. Right on a dat­ing web­site. “Life-Size 2: A Christ­mas Eve” (9 p.m., Freeform) - The young toy com­pany CEO is in the mid­dle of a quar­ter­life cri­sis, un­til her old doll comes to life help her get back on track. “Hol­i­day Gin­ger­bread Show­down” (9 p.m., Food) - Three bak­ers must cre­ate a gin­ger­bread scene in­spired by the clas­sic hol­i­day movie “Elf.”

“A Star For Christ­mas” (10 p.m., Life­time) - An­other new orig­i­nal film. In this one, a re­cent breakup throws a baker’s life into chaos. But things start look­ing up with a hand­some but trou-

bled ac­tor comes into the store and the two fall in love. “Jin­gle All the Way” (10:30

p.m., AMC) - A crazed post­man (Sin­bad), a tough po­lice­man and a shady Santa im­pede a worka­holic (Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger) seek­ing a cov­eted toy for his son.

MON­DAY, DEC. 3 “The Great Christ­mas Light Fight” (8 p.m., ABC) - Tonight’s show fea­tures homes in Kokomo, In­di­ana; Weirs­dale, Florida; Grand Rivers, Ken­tucky; Clifton, Ohio; Rock­away Beach, New York; Fox River Grover, Illi­nois; and San Fran­cisco, Cal­i­for­nia. “The Santa Clause 2” (8 p.m., AMC) - An ad man (Tim Allen) has to marry by Christ­mas Eve or he will stop be­ing Santa Claus for­ever. “Hol­i­day Bak­ing Cham­pi­onship” (9 p.m., Food) - The five bak­ers have to up­date tra­di­tional rugelach with un­ex­pected fla­vors like car­damom, grape­fruit, guava paste, peanut but­ter or chai. “Pop Up Santa Hol­i­day Spe­cial” (9:30 p.m., Freeform) A spe­cial cel­e­brat­ing the spirit of the hol­i­day season through heart­warm­ing mo­ments like a home give­away, a baby shower at a mil­i­tary base and a cel­e­bra­tion for kids at Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in Los An­ge­les. “Christ­mas Cookie Chal­lenge” (10 p.m., Food) - The cookie mak­ers use tra­di­tional nest­ing dolls as in­spi­ra­tion to make six cook­ies of the same de­sign that get pro­gres­sively smaller.

TUES­DAY, DEC. 4 “The Po­lar Ex­press” (8 p.m., AMC) - The con­duc­tor of a train (Tom Hanks) to the North Pole guides a boy who ques­tions the ex­is­tence of Santa Claus. “Satur­day Night Live Christ­mas” (9 p.m., NBC) - A twohour spe­cial fea­tur­ing some of the most mem­o­rable “SNL” Christ­mas sketches.

“Santa Clause 3: The Es­cape Clause” (9 p.m., Freeform) Scott Calvin (Tim Allen), aka Santa, con­tends with vis­it­ing in-laws (Ann-Mar­gret, Alan Arkin) and a scheme by mis­chievous Jack Frost (Martin Short) to freeze him out of Christ­mas.

WED­NES­DAY, DEC. 5

“Elf” (8 p.m., AMC) - Will Fer­rell plays a grown man raised as one of Santa’s elves, who leaves the work­shop to search for his real fa­ther in New York. It also stars Bob Ne­whart, James Caan, Ed­ward As­ner, Zooey Deschanel and Mary Steen­bur­gen. “Christ­mas with the Kranks” (9 p.m., Freeform) - A Chicago cou­ple (Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Cur­tis) scram­ble to put to­gether a hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tion af­ter their daugh­ter de­cides to come home for Christ­mas.

THURS­DAY, DEC. 6 “A Char­lie Brown Christ­mas” (8 p.m., ABC) - Li­nus helps Char­lie Brown dis­cover the true mean­ing of Christ­mas in this 1965 Charles M. Schulz “Peanuts” clas­sic. “It’s a Won­der­ful Life” (8

p.m., USA) - In this Frank Capra clas­sic, a sui­ci­dal man ru­ined by a miser on Christ­mas Eve sees his life in a new light thanks to his guardian an­gel. It stars James Ste­wart, Donna Reed and Lionel Bar­ry­more. “Na­tional Lam­poon’s Christ­mas Va­ca­tion” (8 p.m., AMC) The Gris­wolds spend the hol­i­day with rel­a­tives in this 1999 hol­i­day com­edy, in­clud­ing a coun­try cousin who ar­rives in an RV. It stars Chevy Chase, Bev­erly D’An­gelo, Randy Quaid and Diane Ladd. “The Great Amer­i­can Bak­ing Show: Hol­i­day Edi­tion” (9 p.m., ABC) - In the first episode of the season, con­tes­tants pre­pare cakes and sweet and sa­vory pas­tries.

FRI­DAY, DEC. 7 “Christ­mas Lost and Found”

(8 p.m., Life­time) - In this new orig­i­nal film, a New York City event plan­ner goes to Chicago to spend Christ­mas with Grandma Frances, af­ter years of missing fam­ily gath­er­ings. While there, she mis­tak­enly throws out a box of pre­cious fam­ily or­na­ments. “A Christ­mas Story” (9 p.m., TBS) - Lit­tle Ral­phie tries to con­vince his par­ents in the 1940s to get him a Red Ry­der range-model BB gun for Christ­mas.

“Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christ­mas Is You” (8 p.m., AMC) - In this 2017 an­i­mated spe­cial, a lit­tle girl who des­per­ately wants a puppy for Christ­mas agrees to take care of her un­cle’s dog to prove she’s re­spon­si­ble.

“Bad Santa” (9 p.m., WGN) Two crim­i­nals (Billy Bob Thorn­ton and Tony Cox) dis­guise them­selves as St. Nick and an elf to rob stores at Christ­mas­time. I’m sure this gets a heavy TVedit, but still def­i­nitely def­i­nitely def­i­nitely not for the kids. “Dis­ney’s A Christ­mas Carol” (9:50 p.m., Freeform) - Miserly Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Car­rey) faces un­com­fort­able truths when three Christ­mas ghosts take him a jour­ney through his past, present and fu­ture. “The Year With­out A Santa Claus” (10 p.m., AMC) -A de­press­ing an­i­mated spe­cial in which Santa feels sad and un­wanted, so he takes the day off be­fore Christ­mas. Voiced by Mickey Rooney and Shirley Booth.

SATUR­DAY, DEC. 8 “Ru­dolph the Red-Nosed Rein­deer” (8 p.m., CBS) - The rein­deer with the shiny nose guides Santa’s sleigh through a bad storm on Christ­mas Eve in this beloved 1964 clas­sic. Nar­rated by Burl Ives. “Santa’s Boots” (8 p.m.,

Life­time) - In this new orig­i­nal movie, Holly re­turns home for Christ­mas and is put to work as Santa’s elf at her fam­ily’s store, where she meets Nick and falls in love. When Nick dis­ap­pears days be­fore Christ­mas, Holly looks for him but all she can find is his mis­placed black boot. “Home­grown Christ­mas” (8 p.m., Hall­mark) - In this new Hall­mark movie, for­mer sweet­hearts are forced to work to­gether to or­ga­nize a high school dance and re­dis­cover what made them fall in love years ago.

“Hol­i­day Inn” (8 p.m., TCM) At his New Eng­land inn, which is open only dur­ing the holi­days, a singer (Bing Crosby) com­petes with a dancer (Fred As­taire) for the af­fec­tions of a beau­ti­ful woman (Mar­jorie Reynolds). Irv­ing Berlin won an an Os­car for his song “White Christ­mas,” fea­tured in this 1942 film.

“Dis­ney’s Fairy Tale Wed­dings: Hol­i­day Magic” (8 p.m., Freeform) - Ro­man­tic hol­i­day wed­dings at Walt Dis­ney World Re­sort.

“The Santa Clause 2” (8:30 p.m., AMC) - An ad man (Tim Allen) has to marry by Christ­mas Eve or he will stop be­ing Santa Claus for­ever. “Frosty the Snow­man” (9 p.m., CBS) - The 1969 an­i­mated adap­ta­tion of Romeo Muller’s story of a snow­man who comes to life, nar­rated by Jimmy Du­rante.

“Mem­o­ries of Christ­mas” (9 p.m., Hall­mark Movies & Mys­ter­ies) - Noelle in­her­its her mother’s house and finds that for the past two years, her ag­ing mother had been hir­ing pro­fes­sion­als to dec­o­rate it for Christ­mas. Noelle tells the dec­o­ra­tor that the deal is off, but he won’t take “no” for an an­swer. “The Santa Clause” (9 p.m., Freeform) - From 1994, an ad­man (Tim Allen) takes over for Santa af­ter a rooftop mishap on Christ­mas Eve. “Frosty Re­turns” (9:30 p.m., CBS) - John Good­man is the voice of Frosty in this se­quel in which Frosty is threat­ened by a snow-re­moval spray. Nar­rated by Jonathan Win­ters.

SUN­DAY, DEC. 9 “Wel­come to Christ­mas” (8 p.m., Hall­mark) - In this new Hall­mark movie, a real es­tate devel­oper finds ro­mance with a charm­ing sher­iff in a small town dur­ing the holi­days. “Christ­mas in Ten­nessee” (8

p.m., Life­time) - In this new movie, a baker unites the peo­ple of her small moun­tain town to re­sist a real es­tate devel­oper’s plan to build a ski re­sort. “The Po­lar Ex­press” (8:30 p.m., AMC) - The con­duc­tor of a train (Tom Hanks) to the North

Pole guides a boy who ques­tions the ex­is­tence of Santa Claus.

“Time for Me to Come Home for Christ­mas” (9 p.m., Hall­mark Movies & Mys­ter­ies) -In this new movie, two strangers — a busi­ness­woman and a coun­try mu­sic star — are both booked on a flight to Tulsa be­fore the holi­days but the flight is can­celed be­cause of a snow­storm. They de­cide to try to get to Tulsa to­gether, and share se­crets along the way. “A Snow White Christ­mas” (9

p.m., ION) - In this new movie, Blanca must spend Christ­mas with her das­tardly step­mother, who is try­ing to cheat her out of her fa­ther’s in­her­i­tance. Jeal­ous that a hand­some de­signer has eyes for Blanca, the step­mother has Blanca hyp­no­tized so that she’ll for­get ev­ery­thing about her life. When Blanca wakes up in a quaint mo­tor lodge out of town with se­vere am­ne­sia, she re­ceives the help of seven quirky friends, the Holly Jol­lies, to help her fig­ure out her life. “Hol­i­day Gin­ger­bread Show­down” (9 p.m., Food) - Three bak­ers race to cre­ate their take on a gin­ger­bread North Pole.

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christ­mas” (9 p.m., Freeform) - Jim Car­rey stars as the big green grinch in this live ac­tion adap­ta­tion that also stars Jef­frey Tam­bor and Chris­tine Baran­ski. Nar­rated by An­thony Hop­kins.

MON­DAY, DEC. 10 “CMA Coun­try Christ­mas” (8 p.m., ABC) - Coun­try mu­sic stars per­form Christ­mas clas­sics and fes­tive col­lab­o­ra­tions. Reba McEn­tire hosts and per­forms. “No Sleep ‘Till Christ­mas” (9

p.m., Freeform) - In this new movie, an en­gaged woman meets a bar­tender and they dis­cover they can only fall asleep when they are next to each other. It stars Dave Annable and his real-life wife Odette.

“Hol­i­day Bak­ing Cham­pi­onship” (9 p.m., Food) - In the pre-heat, bak­ers have to com­bine com­mon pantry in­gre­di­ents like bal­samic vine­gar, potato chips, oat­meal, red wine and olive oil in a new ver­sion of a clas­sic hol­i­day dessert. Later, the bak­ers must use two key fruit­cake com­po­nents in a new dessert. “Na­tional Lam­poon’s Christ­mas Va­ca­tion” (9:15 p.m., AMC)

- The Gris­wolds spend the hol­i­day with rel­a­tives in this 1999 hol­i­day com­edy, in­clud­ing a coun­try cousin who ar­rives in an RV. It stars Chevy Chase, Bev­erly D’An­gelo, Randy Quaid and Diane Ladd. “Pen­ta­tonix: A Not So Silent Night” (10 p.m., NBC) -A one-hour hol­i­day spe­cial fea­tur­ing a va­ri­ety of heart­warm­ing a cap­pella per­for­mances with celebrity guests. “The Great Christ­mas Light Fight” (10 p.m., ABC) -Anew episode fea­tur­ing over-the-top Christ­mas dis­plays.

“Christ­mas Cookie Chal­lenge” (10 p.m., Food) - The five cookie mak­ers must imag­ine what Christ­mas Eve looks like for Mrs. Claus.

Note: Some pro­gram­ming de­scrip­tions are pro­vided by net­works.

ABC

Dis­cover the true mean­ing of Christ­mas with “A Char­lie Brown Christ­mas.”

CBS

“Ru­dolph the Red-Nosed Rein­deer," which de­buted in 1964, is TV’s long­est-run­ning hol­i­day spe­cial.

MGM

Lit­tle Ral­phie tries to con­vince his par­ents in the 1940s to get him a Red Ry­der range-model BB gun for Christ­mas.

ALAN MARKFIELD AP

Will Fer­rell (right) stars as Buddy the Elf in New Line Cin­e­mas “Elf. “

Clas­sic Me­dia, Inc.

“Frosty The Snow­man,” the pop­u­lar an­i­mated mu­si­cal spe­cial nar­rated by Jimmy Du­rante.

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