The major TV networks are wasting no time in trotting out the holiday classics this weekend. On Friday, CBS, ABC and NBC are all airing Christmas favorites to kick off the season at 8 p.m. ET. CBS will air Frosty the Snowman, ABC will air Santa Claus is Comin' to Town and NBC will air the 1966 adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
The TV networks are starting the Christmas media binge at one of the earliest times most people can generally agree to: immediately after Thanksgiving. Notably, all three are reaching back decades for some of the oldest and most beloved holiday specials in TV history. Holiday media has always relied on nostalgia and tradition, so it makes sense that these oldies will get things started. Later on in the schedule, there will be room for newer movies and TV shows.
For now, fans have their pick of three broadcast staples. The oldest is Dr. Seuss' How the Grich Stole Christmas, which originally aired in 1966. It is an adaptation of Seuss' 1957 book by the same name, telling the story of an antisocial green creature plotting to ruin Christmas for the wholesome Whos in the neighboring village. The story of the Grinch has been re-tread in several remakes and spinoffs over the years, so this could be a good time to get younger kids familiar with the original.
Meanwhile, Frosty the Snowman will air on CBS. This 1969 animated special is based on a song by Walter E. Rollins and Steve Nelson, expanding its narrative where necessary. It follows a group of children who place a magic hat on their snowman's head to bring him to life. They then try to help Frosty reach the North Pole before the warming weather can completely melt him. It will be followed by its 1992 sequel, Frosty Returns, at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Finally, ABC will have the stop-motion special Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town in the same time slot. This special comes from Rankin/Bass Productions – the studio behind specials like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Little Drummer Boy and others. The aesthetic alone is enough to inspire holiday nostalgia for many viewers.
For those trying to catch these same specials on their own schedule, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is streaming on Peacock, but only with a premium subscription. Sadly, the other two are available only on select digital stores for rental or purchase. That means if you want to catch these specials, now is the time to set your calendar or your recording device.