A Santa bagful of holiday-TV specials
A guide to the 2012 holiday-TV lineup, starring old favorites the Grinch, Charlie Brown and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, plus some newcomers, such as “Winter in Portlandia.”
/ Seattle Times staff
Tonight in Prime Time
You may not have noticed, but your television has been taken over by Santas, Scrooges and numerous music specials. So, grab a holiday beverage and some turkey leftovers, and settle into your favorite comfy chair. A list of highlights follows, though it’s far from exhaustive. All dates and times are subject to change, so double-check local listings.
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” 8 p.m. Tuesday, and Dec. 18 and 25 on ABC: Boris Karloff narrates the one and only original.
“Shrek the Halls,” 8:30 p.m. Tuesday on ABC: Shrek, Donkey and the gang celebrate the holidays.
“A Charlie Brown Christmas,” 8 p.m. Wednesdayon ABC: The Peanuts gang discovers the true meaning of Christmas.
“Christmas in Rockefeller Center,” 8 p.m. Wednesday on NBC: Annual celebration from New York City.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), 8 p.m. Saturday and 8 p.m. Dec. 24 on NBC: Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey in the 1946 Frank Capra classic about a fateful Christmas Eve in small-town Bedford Falls.
“Blake Shelton’s Not-So-Family Christmas,” 10 p.m. Dec. 3 and 8 p.m. Dec. 7 on NBC: A holiday music special featuring performances from Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson and Miranda Lambert.
“Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” 8 p.m. Dec. 4 on CBS: The classic about that reindeer, Santa and the Island of Misfit Toys.
“The Flight Before Christmas,” 9 p.m. Dec. 8 on CBS: Animated holiday special.
“Prep & Landing” and “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice,” 8:30 p.m. Dec. 9 on ABC: Two animated specials about an “elite unit of elves.”
“Miracle on 34th Street” (1947), 8 and 10:15 p.m. Dec. 9 with repeats through December on AMC: The original version of the holiday tale stars Maureen O’Hara, Edmund Gwenn and Natalie Wood.
“Michael Buble: Home for the Holidays,” 10 p.m. Dec. 10 and Dec. 21 on NBC: An all-new special from the Canadian crooner.
“Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” 8 p.m. Dec, 11 on ABC: An animated classic about the origins of Santa.
“Christmas in the White House,” 8 p.m. Dec. 13 and 9 p.m. Dec. 21 on NBC: Holiday special from Washington, D.C.
“Winter in Portlandia,” 10:30 p.m. Dec. 14 on IFC: An all-new half-hour of weirdness from Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein (the third season premieres in January).
“Yes, Virginia,” 9 p.m. Dec. 14 on CBS: An animated holiday special based on the story of a child’s letter.
“The Elf on the Shelf: An Elf’s Story,” 9:30 p.m. Dec. 14 on CBS: An animated holiday special.
“White Christmas” (1954), 9:45 p.m. Dec. 14 with repeats through December on AMC: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and some wonderful music.
“Elf,” 8 p.m. Dec. 15 on CBS: Will Ferrell stars as a man raised as an elf in this 2003 holiday flick.
“National Christmas Tree Lighting 2012,” 7 p.m. Dec. 16 on KCTS: The lighting of the National Christmas tree in Washington, D.C., features musical guests.
“A Christmas Story” (1983), 6 p.m. Dec. 16, midnight Dec. 17, and a 24-hour marathon beginning at 8 p.m. Dec. 24 on TBS: In the 1940s, Ralphie goes on a Christmas quest for a Red Ryder air rifle and ... oh, you know the rest (“It’s a major award!”).
“Christmas with Mormon Tabernacle Choir,” 8 p.m. Dec. 16 and 9 p.m. Dec. 24 on KCTS: Music special featuring Jane Seymour and Nathan Gunn, from Salt Lake City.
“Prancer” (1989), 5:30 p.m. Dec. 16 and 11:15 a.m. Dec. 24 on AMC: If you’ve never seen this charmer about a little girl sheltering a reindeer, do yourself a favor and watch it.
“A Christmas Carol” (1984), 10:30 p.m. Dec. 16 with repeats through December on AMC: A made-for-TV version starring George C. Scott.
“A Christmas Carol” (1938), 1 a.m. Dec. 17 with repeats through December on AMC: This version stars Reginald Owen as Scrooge.
“Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944), 7 p.m. Dec. 18 on TCM: The Christmas scenes in this set-in-1904 Judy Garland musical are heart-tuggers.
“Christmas in Yellowstone,” 8 p.m. Dec. 19 and noon Dec. 20 on KCTS: This “Nature” special looks at the winter wonders of one of our national parks.
“CMA Country Christmas,” 9 p.m. Dec. 20 on ABC: Performances by Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Colbie Caillat and John Legend. Hosted by Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles.
“Christmas in Washington,” 8 p.m. Dec. 21 on TNT: Music special from Washington, D.C.
“Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol,” 8 p.m. Dec. 22 on NBC: An animated retelling of the holiday tale.
“Christmas at Luther: Tidings of Comfort and Joy,” 8 p.m. Dec. 23 and 10 p.m. Dec. 24 on KCTS: Music special from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
“Sting: A Winter’s Night,” 11 p.m. Dec. 24 and 1 a.m. Dec. 25 on KCTS: Music special featuring the pop star.
“Happy Holidays: The Best of Andy Williams Christmas Shows,” midnight Dec. 24 on KCTS: Music special.
Doug Knoop, Seattle Times staff
email@example.com or on Twitter @dougknoop