At this point of the year, month and week, it had better be looking a lot like Christmas.
With the much-anticipated holiday upon us, television is doing its part, presenting attractions that reflect the spirit of the season in a variety of ways … some funny, some serious and some simply built for all-out yuletide fun. Here’s a roundup of much of what’s still left for viewers on the virtual Christmas tree otherwise known as a TV screen.
ABC: This year’s “CMA Country Christmas” special, with Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland back as host for the third consecutive year, gets a repeat Sunday, Dec. 23 — and later that day, the Julie Andrews-starring holiday-season perennial “The Sound of Music” also returns. Monday, Dec. 24, sees repeats of the animated specials “Disney’s Prep & Landing” and “Shrek the Halls.” And Christmas itself is packed with TV tradition Tuesday, Dec. 25; the morning is marked by the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, and the animated and live-action versions of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” are paired that night.
NBC: For many people, Christmas Eve means one thing in entertainment terms — the James Stewart-starring, Frank Capra-directed movie classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” — and it’s back Monday. And another Dr. Seuss tale is in prime time Tuesday with the animated film “Horton Hears a Who!”
FOX: The sitcom “Raising Hope” gets Christmas Eve duty Monday, with repeats of the holiday episodes from both last year and this year.
The CW: It’s an animated Christmas Eve on Monday with the voices of Ed Asner, Kathy Bates and (as Santa) Andy Griffith in the aptly scheduled movie “Christmas Is Here Again,” followed by the special “Second Star to the Left.”
TBS: Seasonal episodes of many of the cable channel’s featured sitcoms, from “Friends” to “Everybody Loves Raymond,” are offered Monday. And from Monday night through most of the day Tuesday, it’s another holiday tradition, the 24-hour marathon of the amusingly nostalgic 1983 movie “A Christmas Story.”
TNT: Movie lovers will be happy Sunday with Judy Garland and her Yellow Brick Road companions in the 1939 family favorite “The Wizard of Oz,” then all three of the “Lord of the Rings” movies. Then on Monday, Patrick Stewart is excellent as Scrooge in the 1999 version of “A Christmas Carol.”
AMC: Another Scrooge is evident here Sunday, as George C. Scott plays the miser in the rendering of “A Christmas Carol” originally made for CBS in 1984. There’s also plenty of Santa – or someone claiming to be him – Sunday, with both the original and updated versions of “Miracle on 34th Street.” And on Monday, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are teamed in another holiday-movie must for many viewers, “White Christmas.”
TV Land: Appropriately, Tuesday boasts Christmas episodes of such usual weekday attractions here as “The Andy Griffith Show,” “The Nanny,” “Gunsmoke” and “MASH.”
TCM: As usual, plenty of holiday fare is featured on this channel as Christmas nears. Among our favorites are Dick Van Dyke as a larcenous servant in “Fitzwilly” and Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young in “The Bishop’s Wife” (both Sunday), the Laurel and Hardy take on “Babes in Toyland” (Monday) and Bing Crosby in the Oscar-winning “Going My Way” (Tuesday).
ABC Family: It’s been “25 Days of Christmas” all month on the channel, and among the highlights of the last three days are Tom Hanks in the motion-capture-animated “The Polar Express” (Sunday), the original “Home Alone” and Tim Allen in all three “Santa Clause” comedies (Monday), and Jim Carrey’s take on Scrooge in Disney’s “A Christmas Carol” and Chevy Chase in the ever-hilarious “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (Tuesday).
Hallmark Channel: It’s also been Christmas almost 24/7 all month here, and the final days of that festival feature Henry Winkler in “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (Sunday), Julie Andrews in “Eloise at Christmastime” (Monday) and reteamed “Family Ties” co-stars Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross in “Naughty or Nice” (Tuesday).
USA Network: If you don’t like snakes for Christmas, you’re not alone this year, since Harrison Ford stars in all four Indiana Jones movies Tuesday.
Syfy: “Star Trek” gets a big holiday workout Sunday, with several “Next Generation” episodes and six of the sci-fi franchise’s feature films.
Fox Movie Channel: On Tuesday, Arnold Schwarzenegger tries to find the toy his son desires in several showings of “Jingle All the Way,” while the second and third “Home Alone” movies also get multiple showings. And Christmas Day concludes with the channel’s premiere of director James Cameron’s fantasy “Avatar.”
Food Network: The channel gets “Unwrapped” with several holiday episodes of the series Sunday.
HGTV: “Celebrity Holiday Homes” are in the spotlight again with a literally colorful marathon of installments Monday.