The holiday season is upon us, and that means plenty of festive movies, TV shows and specials to catch while before the new year. These days, there are more ways than ever to watch your favorite or discover a new gem, from network TV to streaming services.
No holiday season is complete without at least one heart-warming movie or special to get in the spirit. Whether its a themed episode of your favorite sitcom, a classic yuletide movie or even a recent addition to the Christmas canon, there is something for everyone.
Chances are, there is also a screening for everyone, if you know where to look. The network and cable schedule for December is inundated with holiday specials, movies and particularly festive TV episodes. At the same time, streaming services have licensed many of the classics as well, so you can watch it on your own time, when the whole family is ready.
It is also a great year to try out a new holiday special and see if it sticks. After all, even It's A Wonderful Life was new at one point, and in the last few years there has been a boom in great holiday stories.
Below is the list of all the best holiday specials airing this season, and where to catch them.
First up is the TV schedule — the lightest of the bunch. Big items here include Netflix's ambitious new family-oriented special, Merry Happy Whatever, and the beloved TV event The Great Christmas Light Fight.
Wrap Battle, 9 p.m. Nov. 25, Freeform
Merry Happy Whatever, Nov. 28, Netflix
Top Elf, 8 p.m. Nov. 29, Nickelodeon
The Great Christmas Light Fight, 8 p.m. Dec. 2, ABC
Making It, 10 p.m. Dec. 2-5 and 9-10, 9 p.m. Dec. 11, NBC
The Moodys, 9 p.m. Dec. 4, 9 and 10, Fox
Ellen's Greatest Night of Giveaways, 8 p.m. Dec. 10-12, NBC
Friends Christmas Episodes, now on Netflix
Community Christmas Episodes, now on Hulu
Below are the Christmas movies premiering this month, but needless to say this is not every single Christmas movie airing in December. Lifetime and Hallmark are both airing between 20 and 22 hours of holiday movies per day all month long, and Freeform has plenty of repeat marathons scheduled. Still, this should be plenty for anyone other than Buddy the Elf himself.
Check Inn to Christmas, 8 p.m. Nov. 26, Hallmark
The Christmas Club, 8 p.m. Nov. 27, Hallmark
A Very Vintage Christmas, 8 p.m. Nov. 27, Lifetime
Holiday Rush, Nov. 28, Netflix
Christmas at the Plaza, 8 p.m. Nov. 28, Hallmark
A Christmas Wish, 8 p.m. Nov. 28, Lifetime
Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy, 8 p.m. Nov. 29, Hallmark
Staging Christmas, 8 p.m. Nov. 29, Lifetime
Sense, Sensibility & Snowmen, 9 p.m. Nov. 29, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Christmas in Rome, 8 p.m. Nov. 30, Hallmark
Merry Liddle Christmas, 8 p.m. Nov. 30, Lifetime
Christmas Chalet, 7 p.m. Dec. 1, UP TV
Christmas Town, 8 p.m. Dec. 1, Hallmark
You Light Up My Christmas, 8 p.m. Dec. 1, Lifetime
Ghosting: The Spirit of Christmas, 9 p.m. Dec. 4, Freeform
A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby, Dec. 5, Netflix
Same Time, Next Christmas, 9 p.m. Dec. 5, ABC (encore Dec. 11 on Freeform)
A Storybook Christmas, 8 p.m. Dec. 6, Lifetime
Mistletoe & Menorahs, 6 p.m. Dec. 7, Lifetime
A Christmas Love Story, 8 p.m. Dec. 7, Hallmark (Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation)
Christmas Unleashed, 8 p.m. Dec. 7, Lifetime
Christmas in Paris, 7 p.m. Dec. 8, UP TV
Christmas at Dollywood, 8 p.m. Dec. 8, Hallmark
Grounded for Christmas, 8 p.m. Dec. 8, Lifetime
Christmas Stars, 8 p.m. Dec. 13, Lifetime
Matchmaker Christmas, 6 p.m. Dec. 14, Lifetime
Holiday Date, 8 p.m. Dec. 14, Hallmark
A Christmas Winter Song, 8 p.m. Dec. 14, Lifetime
Snowbound for Christmas, 7 p.m. Dec. 15, UP TV
A Cheerful Christmas, 8 p.m. Dec. 15, Hallmark
Rediscovering Christmas, 8 p.m. Dec. 15, Lifetime
A Christmas Carol, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19, FX
The Christmas Temp, 8 p.m. Dec. 20, Lifetime
Christmas Love Letter, 6 p.m. Dec. 21, Lifetime
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, 8 p.m. Dec. 21, Hallmark
Christmas Hotel, 8 p.m. Dec. 21, Lifetime
Christmas Wedding Runaway, 7 p.m. Dec. 22, UP TV
Double Holiday, 8 p.m. Dec. 22, Hallmark
A Date by Christmas Eve, 8 p.m. Dec. 22, Lifetime
Baby in a Manger, 7 p.m. Dec. 24, UP TV
When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas, 8 p.m. Dec. 25, Hallmark
A New Year's Resolution, 8 p.m. Dec. 28, Hallmark
If you are not in the mood for a full-on Christmas narrative, a holiday special may be more your speed. There are some good ones coming up this season, with multiple chances to watch.
Wonderful World of Disney Magical Holiday Celebration, 8 p.m. Nov. 28, ABC
Outrageous Holiday Houses, 11 p.m. Nov. 28, HGTV
The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show, Nov. 29, Amazon
How to Train Your Dragon Homecoming, 8:30 p.m. Dec. 3, NBC
CMA Country Christmas, 9 p.m. Dec. 3, ABC
Disney Channel Holiday Party, 8 p.m. Dec. 13, ABC
Trolls Holiday, 8:30 p.m. Dec. 14, NBC
Holidays With the Houghs, 10 p.m. Dec. 16, NBC
The Year: 2019, 9 p.m. Dec. 22, ABC
Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, 10 a.m. ET, 9 a.m. in other time zones, Dec. 25, ABC
Of course for some people, no modern-day holiday content will ever replace the classics in their hearts. Some of the most enduring movies, TV shows and shorts of the last century are holiday themed, and remain resonant to this day. This is proven by the fact that so many are airing this month, in time slots listed below:
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, 8 p.m. Dec. 1, ABC
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, 8 p.m. Dec. 2, CBS
How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 8 p.m. Dec. 3, NBC
Christmas in Rockefeller Center, 8 p.m. Dec. 4, NBC
A Charlie Brown Christmas, 8 p.m. Dec. 5, ABC
Olaf's Frozen Adventure, 8 p.m. Dec. 12, ABC
Toy Story That Time Forgot, 8:30 p.m. Dec. 12, ABC
The 88th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade, 8 p.m. Dec. 13, The CW
Kennedy Center Honors, 8 p.m. Dec. 15, CBS
Shrek the Halls, 8 p.m. Dec. 17, ABC
Disney Prep & Landing, 8 p.m. Dec. 19, ABC
A Home for the Holidays, 8 p.m. Dec. 22, CBS
At the end of the day, holiday celebrations are all about gathering family ogether, and for many families the communal event is sports. There are a few ways to liven up your holiday gathering with a live sporting event this season. For starters, here are the NBA games you can catch this month:
Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors, noon ET/9 a.m. PT, ESPN
Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers, 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT, ABC
Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors, 5 p.m. ET/2 PT, ABC
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers, 8 p.m. ET/5 PT, ABC/ESPN
New Orleans Pelicans at Denver Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 PT, ESPN.
If football is more your family's speed, there are 31 college football bowl games between Dec. 20 and Dec. 31.
The semifinal matchups in the College Football Playoff will be on Dec. 28.
Holiday Food Shows
The holidays are also a time for unrepentant over-eating and indulgence, and the TV has you covered there as well. From competitions to tutorials, there are some great holiday-themed cooking and food shows to watch this month.
Santa's Baking Blizzard, 9 p.m. Nov. 28, Food Network
Sugar Rush Christmas, Nov. 29, Netflix
Holiday Wars, 9 p.m. Dec 1, Food Network
Holiday Gingerbread Showdown, 10 p.m. Dec. 1, Food Network
The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition, 9 p.m. Dec. 12, ABC
New Year's Eve
Finally, to finish the year off, there are a handful of New Year's Eve specials airing on Dec. 31. You can pick your preference or give yourself over to the mercy of whatever party or bar you'll be at, but here are the options just so you can plan ahead.
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, starting at 8 p.m., ABC
CNN's New Year's Eve coverage hosted by Anderson Cooper, starting at 8 p.m. on CNN0comments
Steve Harvey's New Year's Eve coverage from Times Square in New York City, starting at 11 p.m. on Fox
A Toast to 2019 followed by the NBC New Year's Eve Special, starting at 8 p.m. on NBC