Once the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, it’s time to curl up with a glass of eggnog and let televised visions of sugarplums — or leg lamps — dance across our flat-screens. Here’s our guide to this season’s sweetest TV tidings.
A Michael Bublé Christmas
Dec. 6 (NBC)
From “Jingle Bells” to “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” Sinatra heir Bublé spins live performance and sketch comedy in this whimsical hourlong special.
A Night at the Movies: Merry Christmas
Dec. 6 (TCM)
The most iconic holiday films of all time — from It’s a Wonderful Life to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation — are remembered in this special, along with dollops of merry musings from the films’ stars.
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
Dec. 8 (ABC Family)
Every superhero needs his origin story. Kris Kringle gets his courtesy of Claymation gurus Rankin-Bass and the voice talents of Fred Astaire and Mickey Rooney.
12 Dates of Christmas
Dec. 11 (ABC Family)
We can’t promise a partridge or a pear tree, but this Groundhog Day-meets-Scrooge rom-com does boast sweet performances from Amy Smart and Mark-Paul Gosselaar.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Dec. 13 (ABC Family)
Rubber-faced funnyman Jim Carrey gets green and grumpy in this live-action, eye-popping take on the Dr. Seuss holiday classic.
Gift of the Magi
Dec. 16 (Hallmark)
Merge Nicholas Sparks’ weepy brand of new romance with M. Night Shyamalan’s proclivity for corkscrew endings and you’ve got this TV adaptation of the O. Henry classic.
Christmas Comes Home to Canaan
Dec. 17 (Hallmark)
Cultural harmony and love help Billy Ray Cyrus heal his achy-breaky heart in this sequel to 2009’s hankie-soaking holiday confection, Christmas in Canaan.
A Christmas Story
24-hour marathon beginning the night of Dec. 24 (TBS)
Has anyone ever had a Christmas feeling, anxiety, mishap or miracle not covered in this nostalgia-drenched but sharp-witted holiday classic? As is TBS tradition, it plays on a continuous loop through Christmas Day.
The Yule Log
Dec. 25 (Tribune Stations; check local listings for times)
Minimalist, sure, and a little slack in the plot department, but this annual TV event — one long, uninterrupted shot of a burning log — is actually a welcome antidote to yet another bombastic rendition of “O Holy Night.”