Los Angeles –
It’s that most wonderful time of the TV year when we are visited again by the welcome ghosts of classic holiday programs past — hello again, Frosty the Snowman and even mean old Grinch!
But there are newcomers as well, with Mariah Carey, Bill Murray and an “Empire” variety special among them. Isn’t it greedy to ask Santa for anything more?
Among the program highlights (all times EST; check local listings for encore airings):
■“Frosty the Snowman,” 8 p.m. Saturday, CBS. The adventures of the snowman (voiced by Jackie Vernon) with the magical top hat and jolly soul, which first aired in 1969, as narrated by Jimmy Durante.
■“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” 8 p.m. Tuesday, CBS. The 1964 special in which Rudolph and buddies Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Misfit Toys rescue Christmas, with narrator Burl Ives’ dulcet tones an added bonus.
■“How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” 9 p.m. Wednesday, NBC. The Dr. Seuss tale of a hostile hermit who threatens Whoville’s joy is narrated by Boris Karloff, who also voices the dastardly Grinch in the 1966 program.
■“The Little Drummer Boy,” 12 p.m. Dec. 6, ABC Family. Young Aaron, who can’t afford to buy a present for baby Jesus, discovers that nothing is better than the gift of music.
■“A Christmas Detour,” 8 p.m. Saturday, Hallmark Channel. Candace Cameron Bure and Paul Greene star as two New York City-bound travelers rerouted to a Buffalo airport hotel and into unexpected territory.
■“It’s a Wonderful Life,” 8 p.m. Dec. 5, NBC. Filmmaker Frank Capra’s holiday fable starring James Stewart and Donna Reed has been reminding audiences about what’s important in life since 1946.
■“Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors,” 9 p.m. Dec. 10, NBC. Alyvia Alyn Lind plays the country music legend as a child in a story inspired by Parton’s family life in 1950s Tennessee. Jennifer Nettles, Gerald McRaney and Ricky Schroder co-star.
■“A Christmas Story,” 8 p.m. Dec. 24, TBS. A boy and a longed-for BB gun make for holiday cheer in writer Jean Shepherd’s wry 1983 tale that stars Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin.
■“Miracle on 34th Street,” 7 p.m. Dec. 10, AMC. Santa Claus goes to court and a little girl stands by his story in the 1947 movie starring Edmund Gwen, Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood as the young believer in St. Nick.
■“White Christmas,” 11:30 p.m. Dec. 10, AMC. Bing Crosby croons the title song and Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen add to the festivities at a struggling Vermont inn in need of help.
■“A Christmas Melody,” 8 p.m. Dec. 19, Hallmark Channel. Mariah Carey stars in and directed this story with music about a single mom (Lacey Chabert) forced to close her New York boutique, return to her Ohio hometown and face a former high school rival (Carey).
■“It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown,” 8 p.m. Monday, ABC. A celebration of the 50th anniversary of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with performances by Kristen Chenoweth, Sarah McLachlan and Boyz II Men, followed at 9 p.m. by the digitally remastered 1965 animated special.
■“CMA Country Christmas,” 9 p.m. Thursday, ABC. Kelsea Ballerini, Jewel, Charles Kelley, Martina McBride, David Nail, Pentatonix, LeAnn Rimes and Darius Rucker join the musical celebration, with Jennifer Nettles as the host and the Grand Ole Opry House as the setting.
■“A Very Murray Christmas,” Friday, Netflix. Bill Murray tips his hat to the holiday and classic variety shows with help from buddies including Michael Cera, George Clooney, Miley Cyrus, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock and, as director, Sofia Coppola.
■“Taraji and Terrence’s White Hot Holidays,” 9 p.m. Dec. 9, Fox. “Empire” stars Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard host a music and variety special including performances of holiday songs by Mary J. Blige, John Legend, Jamie Foxx and others.
■“Lidia Celebrates America: Home for the Holidays,” 9 p.m. Dec. 11, PBS. Chef and author Lidia Bastianich explores the varied backgrounds and holiday traditions of guests including Christopher Walken, Rita Moreno, Ann Curry and Padma Lakshmi.
Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press.
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