TV Christmas Specials to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Eggnog, ugly sweaters and nostalgia-inducing TV specials are the bedrock of any great holiday season. And though we can't help you with the first two, we do have the details on when Frosty, Rudolph and all their cheerful little cohorts will be popping

Here’s what to watch this holiday season

From old favourites likes Frosty and Rudolph to new offerings — a deli-owner named Murray takes over for Santa! Michael Buble’s fourth annual holiday special! Buddy the Elf gets animated! — here’s a roundup of 20 top specials to look for this Yuletide season.

Dates and times subject to change. Please check daily listings. 

It’s A Wonderful Life – Dec. 6, CTV & NBC

An absolute staple of the holiday season, this 1946 classic tells the story of a guardian angel who comes to the aid of a frustrated man (Jimmy Stewart) about to commit suicide on Christmas Eve, showing him what the lives of those around him would have been like had he never been born.

I Love Lucy Christmas Special – Dec. 7, CBS

Two classic I Love Lucy episodes — “Christmas Episode” and “Lucy’s Italian Movie” — are put together for an hour-long, colourized tribute to the classic 1950s sitcom starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

Shrek The Halls – Dec. 7, CTV2

Shrek attempts to celebrate the holidays by following a step-by-step guide called Christmas for Village Idiots in order to make Fiona and their kids happy.

A Russell Peters Christmas – Dec. 9, CTV

This modern-day holiday staple features Canada’s own Russell Peters as he embarks on a mission to bring the Christmas spirit to life with a variety show and a slew of special guest stars.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer – Dec. 9, CBS

First aired in 1964, this timeless adventure celebrates its 50th anniversary as Rudolph visits the Island of Misfit Toys and guides Santa’s sleigh to Christmas glory. 

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town – Dec. 9, ABC

Fred Astaire narrates this animated classic, first aired in 1970, that chronicles how a young boy named Kris Kringle (voiced by Mickey Rooney) grows up to become jolly old St. Nick.

Toy Story That Time Forgot – Dec. 12, YTV

Tom Hanks and Tim Allen return for this short, holiday-themed instalment of the franchise; this time out, the toys find themselves having to do battle with a set of delusional action figures.

Elf – Dec. 13, YTV

Will Ferrell stars as Buddy, an oversized elf who leaves the North Pole and heads to New York City to seek out his human father, all the while spreading the Christmas spirit in his own inimitable, silly-yet-sweet way. Also starring in this hilarious holiday perrennial are Zooey Deschanel, James Caan and Bob Newhart.

The Santa Clause – Dec. 13, ABC SPARK

When a family man (Tim Allen) accidentally kills Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, he’s forced to take over his duties and become the jolly old elf himself. Also starring Wendy Crewson and Judge Reinhold.

A Charlie Brown Christmas – Dec. 16, ABC

The 1965 classic follows a depressed Charlie and the Peanuts gang as they try and separate themselves from the over-commercialization of the holiday and regain the true meaning of Christmas.

The iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2014 – Dec. 18, THE CW

This concert extravaganza, filmed over two nights in Las Vegas, features performances from Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, Maroon 5, Iggy Azalea and Ariana Grande.

Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol – Dec. 19, THE CW

The late Jim Backus voices the near-sighted Magoo, cast as Ebenezer Scrooge in this animated take on the Charles Dickens Christmas classic that finds him encountering the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future. Fun fact: this 1962 program was the very first animated holiday special produced for television.

A Home For The Holidays – Dec. 19, CBS

This special tells touching stories about adoption from foster care to raise awareness for this important social issue, featuring performances by Jennifer Hudson, Train, Katharine McPhee and Earth, Wind & Fire.

Frosty The Snowman – Dec. 22, YTV

Based on the iconic children’s song, this classic cartoon special follows Frosty (voiced by Jackie Vernon) and his friend Karen as they embark on various adventures made possible by a certain magical top hat, with narration provided by an animated Jimmy Durante.

Michael Bublé’s Christmas in New York – Dec. 23, CTV

Michael Bublé returns for his fourth annual holiday special, and this time out he’ll be joined by an eclectic array of guest stars including Barbra Streisand, Ariana Grande and Miss Piggy to partake in the musical merriment.

Scrooged – Dec. 24, ABC SPARK

Bill Murray stars as an impossibly greedy television executive in this modern-day, darkly comedic take on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.