Maybe we were all really, really good this year, given that Santa's bag is overflowing with holiday television shows both classic and new.
The investment in fresh programming does not represent peanuts. Well, actually, that's just the word for a new ABC special about the Peanuts gang, "Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales."
A White House tour on HGTV, a CBS film about toy inventor A.C. Gilbert and music shows galore are among other goodies in store for well-behaved TV viewers. The highlights (all times EST):
ANIMATION "Rugrats, The Kwanzaa Special," 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, Nickelodeon. Aunt T. (voice of Irma P. Hall) encourages her family to celebrate the holiday by living with dignity and kindness each day.
"A Charlie Brown Christmas," 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, ABC. The late Charles M. Schulz's 1965 treasure celebrating the true meaning with Christmas with Charlie and the gang. It's followed by "Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales," based on Schulz's work, features "Peanuts" characters in vignettes. "A Christmas Carol," 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, Nickelodeon. Charles Dickens' tale of a stingy old man trying to reclaim his Christmas spirit features the voices of Tim Curry, Whoopi Goldberg and Ed Asner. "The Christmas Orange," 8:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, ABC Family. A 6-year-old puts Christmas in peril when he takes Santa to court because of the paltry gift that St. Nick delivered. "SpongeBob SquarePants/SpongeBob Christmas," 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, Nickelodeon. SpongeBob takes the blame when Santa fails to pay a visit to Bikini Bottom. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, CBS. The tale of a shy reindeer and his trademark nose, based on the song by Johnny Marks, is narrated by Burl Ives. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, WB. The 1966 Dr. Seuss classic about a mean Grinch who tries to deprive Whoville of Christmas. "A Scooby-Doo Christmas," 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, WB. The Scooby Gang tries to bring the spirit of the holiday back to a small town that is terrorized by a ghostly headless snowman. "Robbie the Reindeer in Hooves of Fire," 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, CBS. Ben Stiller, Hugh Grant and Britney Spears are among those providing the voices as Robbie tries to join Santa's sleigh team. "Robbie the Reindeer in Legend of the Lost," a new special, follows at 9:30. "Frosty the Snowman," 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, CBS. The cheerful snowman treks to the North Pole to avoid melting, pursued by evil Professor Hinkle. "Frosty Returns" follows at 8:30 p.m. "Rugrats Chanukah Special," 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, Nickelodeon. The Rugrats try to reconcile Grandpa Boris with an estranged friend after the two perform in a play about the meaning of the Jewish holiday. "The Fat Albert Christmas Special," 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, NBC. Fat Albert (voice of Bill Cosby) and pals offer their clubhouse as shelter for a needy family, but a landowner threatens to demolish the shack. "A Freezerburnt Christmas," 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, NBC. Shy Freezerburnt tries to thwart evil toy Magnate's plan to destroy Santa, with voices by Darrell Hammond and others from "Saturday Night Live." "Santa Baby," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24, Fox. The voices of Gregory Hines, Patti LaBelle, Vanessa Williams and Eartha Kitt are featured in the story of a girl (Kianna Underwood) who uses a wish to help her songwriter dad.
STOCKING STUFFERS "Christmas in Rockefeller Center," 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, NBC. The New York City celebration includes performances by Barry Manilow, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, Carly Simon and Kelly Clarkson of "American Idol." "Dear Santa," 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, ABC. A 9-year-old girl who wants to find her long-lost grandfather and the wishes of other children who wrote to Santa are fulfilled in this special, with host Jim Belushi. "The Blockbuster Hollywood Christmas Spectacular," 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, NBC. The 71-year-old Hollywood Christmas Parade is the star of a special that includes performances by LeAnn Rimes and Destiny's Child. "Christmas in Aspen," 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, ABC. John Ritter, Bonnie Hunt and George Lopez are among the ABC stars singing holiday tunes. A special Andy Dick version of "Oh Christmas Tree" is promised. "Tradicion: A Holiday Celebration," 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10 (check local listings), PBS. A look at 1940s and '50s Christmas celebrations in Cuba with memories shared by Celia Cruz, Cristina Saralegui and others. "America's Greatest Christmas Decorations," 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, NBC. A coast-to-coast celebration of holiday ingenuity, including videos submitted by proud homeowners and a look at computer-aided decorating. "The White House Christmas 2002," 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, HGTV. A peek inside the holiday-bedecked White House, with the State Dining Room and other areas transformed by artisans and volunteers. "Christmas in Washington," 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, TNT. The concert at the historic National Building Museum is set to include Allison Krause and Union Station, the Brian Setzer Orchestra and Lee Ann Womack. "The Anna Nicole Holiday Special," 10 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, E! Entertainment Television. Anna Nicole and pooch Sugarpie throw a party for guests including Kathy Griffin, Margaret Cho and Rip Taylor. "The Christmas Truce," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, The History Channel. The documentary recounts a World War I Christmas Day truce in which German and British soldiers came together in peaceful celebration. "Saturday Night Live Christmas 2002," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, NBC. Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey are the hosts for a 28-year collection of the comedy show's holiday themed sketches. "A Home for the Holidays," 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, CBS. The fourth annual special presenting stories of adoption, told by celebrities, to bring public attention to the issue. "Christmas Across America 2002," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24, HGTV. Willard Scott is the host of a 39-city tour showing the regional diversity of holiday celebrations. "Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade," 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 25, ABC. Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa are the hosts of the parade, which features the Cirque du Soleil as well as Disney and ABC stars.
MOVIES: "It's a Wonderful Life," 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, NBC. A special airing of the 1946 Frank Capra classic film includes, for the visually impaired, a narration by former President George Bush available through the SAP TV set function. "Mary Christmas" 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, Pax. A TV reporter's life changes when she is assigned a story about a little girl who's asked Santa for a new mom. Cynthia Gibb and John Schneider star. "The Locket," 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, CBS. Vanessa Redgrave and Mary McDonnell star in a "Hallmark Hall of Fame" special about a young man inspired by a new friend to fight for love and fulfillment. "The Santa Trap," 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, Pax. A child's quest to prove Santa is real creates a comedy of errors for her family and Mr. Claus (Dick Van Patten) himself. Robert Hayes and Shelley Long co-star. "The Man Who Saved Christmas," 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, CBS. Jason Alexander and Ed Asner star in a drama based on the life of toymaker A.C. Gilbert and his effort to keep Christmas alive during World War I. "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, NBC. The Griswolds (Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo) round up the kids for a holiday trip to the Walley World amusement park. "I'll Be Home for Christmas," 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, ABC. A Santa-suited college student (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) embarks on a comic odyssey to win his girlfriend back and earn a car. Jessica Biel co-stars. "A Christmas Story," 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, TCM. The 1983 comedy starring Darren McGavin is part of a three-day TCM holiday movie showcase that includes "The Greatest Story Ever Told" at 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Day. "A Town Without Christmas," 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, CBS. A reporter and a novelist find love as they search for a child who has written Santa a disturbing letter. Stars Patricia Heaton, Peter Falk and Rick Roberts.
FOR AULD LANG SYNE: "New Year's Eve Comedy Cure," Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, TBS Superstation. Comedy films including "The Wedding Singer" at 8 p.m. Tuesday followed by "Dumb and Dumber" at 10 p.m. are packaged as a mock telethon to help the humorless. "Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve 2003" 10 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, ABC. Clark begins the celebration with a prime-time special featuring James Taylor, Alabama, Coldplay and John Mayer. "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2003," 11:35 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, ABC. The countdown to midnight and the partying continues with Missy Elliott, Nelly, Rod Stewart, Justin Timberlake and Kelly Clarkson.
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