It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas TV season.
Three cable networks — ABC Family, Hallmark and Lifetime — embrace such holiday programming with a level of grandiosity on par with the Rockefeller Center tree. Hallmark brags about airing “more Christmas than any other network”: 1,100 hours’ worth, including 12 new Christmas-themed films. Lifetime promises 10 fresh, original films with C-grade stars such as David Hasselhoff and Ralph Macchio. ABC Family unveils yet another “Home Alone” sequel more than two decades after Kevin McCallister’s first screaming encounter with aftershave lotion.
On the broadcast networks, NBC is offering a Michael Buble Christmas special Dec. 10. Fox’s “Glee” will pay homage to “Love Actually” on Dec. 13. CBS is giving locally created “Elf on the Shelf” a second year in prime time Dec. 14. And Sugarland lead singer Jennifer Nettles hosts a new “CMA Country Christmas” special on ABC Dec. 20, featuring acts such as Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town and Keith Urban.
But a handful of decades-old films and animated specials continue to draw a menagerie of innocent children and older folks reliving their childhoods. Here’s a sampling of when you can catch a few of them again:
“Frosty the Snowman” 8 p.m. Friday CBS
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” 8 p.m. Nov. 27 ABC — This 1966 Dr. Seuss special has made viewers’ hearts grow three sizes every year since. Join the denizens of Whoville as they sing “Fahoo Forays.”
“A Charlie Brown Christmas” 8 p.m. Nov. 28 ABC — Charlie Brown ruminates about the true meaning of Christmas. Created in 1965, this heartwarming nugget was the first prime-time animated special featuring the “Peanuts” gang.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” 8 p.m. Dec. 1 and Christmas Eve NBC — Every time a bell rings, this 1949 classic film gets its wings.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” 8 p.m. Dec. 4 and Dec. 18 CBS — For 40 years, CBS has been home to this 1964 stop-motion animated special.
“A Christmas Story” — For the eighth year in a row, TBS will air this sweet 1983 film repeatedly for 24 hours starting 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve. (Sister station TNT aired the marathon from 1997 to 2003.)