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A guide to holiday programming on TV, Netflix

Do you tune in Halloween weekend to watch Hallmark’s Christmas movies? Do you gather ‘round the TV to watch holiday specials with Charlie Brown, the Grinch and Frosty, even though you own them all? Do you get sniffly when George Bailey finds Zuzu’s petals in “It’s a Wonderful Life?”

Then this is your most wonderful time of the year, so sit back and watch old friends and meet new ones as holiday programming takes over your favorite TV stations and streaming services.

It starts with movies -- nearly 60 if we count the new holiday films from just four networks -- Hallmark, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, ION Television and Lifetime.

Hallmark: The holiday juggernaut that is Hallmark’s “Countdown to Christmas” started airing new holiday films back at Halloween and won’t stop until Dec. 29. Hallmark and Hallmark M&M continue to premiere a new movie each Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 23. On Christmas, Hallmark premieres its latest holiday movie based on its popular series, “When Calls the Heart.”

Ready or not, Hallmark Christmas movies are here

ION Television: ION has six new original movies and at least 25 returning favorites for its 10th holiday movie season. Two of the movies returning to ION, where they originally premiered, were filmed in the Buffalo area by director Fred Olen Ray. “A Prince for Christmas,” ION’s highest rated movie with an average of 1.2 million viewers, can be seen at 11 p.m. Dec. 2, 5 p.m. Dec. 9, 7 p.m. Dec. 16 and 3 p.m. Dec. 24. "A Christmas in Vermont” airs at 3 p.m. Sunday and 1 a.m. Dec. 16.

Lifetime: “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime,” Lifetime’s annual gift of holiday programming, returns with 23 movies - 14 new originals and nine “acquired” movies (previously released films new to Lifetime). New films will be shown every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 16. The programming also includes the special “ ‘Tis the Season: A One Tree Hill Cast Reunion” on Thursday. Repeats of old and new Lifetime holiday movies are airing every Monday and Tuesday through Dec. 23 on its sister network, Lifetime Movie Network (LMN) with more available on the Lifetime Movie Club digital streaming app.

MeTV: This network devoted to classic television shows its holiday spirit with holiday themed episodes from such beloved series as “The Jeffersons,” “Happy Days,” “Alf,” “The Love Boat,” “M*A*S*H,” “The Brady Bunch,” “WKRP in Cincinnati” and “Ed Sullivan Show.” Programming airs from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, Dec. 9, 16 and 23. A full day of holiday episodes on Dec. 25 starts at 6 a.m. with “The Facts of Life” and includes holiday episodes from “Matlock” (10 a.m.), “Bonanza (2 p.m.) and “Carol Burnett and Friends” (11 p.m.). The 1988 TV movie “A Very Brady Christmas,” airs at 6 p.m. Dec. 2. The full lineup for “A Very MerryMeTV” lineup is at

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" returns this holiday season. (Photo: © Classic Media)

Returning favorites

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” 8 p.m. Nov. 23 on NBC and 8 p.m. Dec. 6 on TBS.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” 8 p.m. Tuesday and Dec. 8 on CBS.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas,” 8 p.m. Dec. 6 and 20 on ABC.

“It's a Wonderful Life,” 8 p.m. Dec. 24, NBC.

“A Christmas Story,” annual 24-hour marathon starts at 8 p.m. Dec. 24 on TBS.

Musical specials

“CMA Country Christmas,” 8 p.m. Dec. 10 and 8 p.m. Dec. 22 on ABC. With Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, Amy Grant, Lindsey Stirling.

“Amy Grant's Tennessee Christmas,” 8 p.m. Dec. 10, Hallmark. With Vince Gill, Michael W. Smith, Kellie Pickler.

"Darci Lynne: My Hometown Christmas," 9 p.m. Dec. 11 on NBC. "America’s Got Talent" winner performs along with Kristin Chenoweth, Toby Keith, Pentatonix and Lindsey Stirling.

“iHeartRadio Jingle Ball,” 8 p.m. Dec. 16 and 25 on CW. Shawn Mendes, Cardi B, Camilla Cabello are among the performers.

“Christmas at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir,” 9 p.m. Dec. 17, 22 and 24 on PBS. Music by Sutton Foster; readings by Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey”).


Even streaming services like Netflix are sharing the holiday spirit with new movies and specials. In 2017, Netflix surprised everyone – perhaps even itself - with the success of its holiday movie “A Christmas Prince.” It makes sense we’ve got a sequel. “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding” starts streaming Nov. 30. Rose McIveer and Ben Lamb return and everything you need to know is in the title.

Also new from Netflix (and streaming now unless noted):

“The Christmas Chronicles” has Kurt Russell donning the red suit in family film about two siblings who accidentally crashed Santa’s sleigh and pull an all-nighter to help save Christmas.

“The Holiday Calendar” stars Kat Graham (“The Vampire Diaries) as a photographer who inherits an advent calendar that may be able to predict the future.

“The Princess Switch” finds a look-alike Chicago baker and soon-to-be princess trading places at Christmas. Starring Vanessa Hudgens.

Also look for “The Great British Baking Show: Holidays” (streaming starting Nov. 30), “Nailed It! Holiday,” a holiday-themed competition with Nicole Byer and Jacques Torres” (Dec. 7) and "Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas,” billed as the anti-Christmas Christmas special with Jamie Foxx, Susan Sarandon, Rashida Jones, Jaden Smith (Dec. 7). Holiday episodes of the Netflix series “Fuller House” and “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” both premiere Dec. 14.

Movie premieres

ION Television

Here’s a look at ION’s new movies and their premiere dates. The new movies will all repeat on Dec. 22.

9 p.m. Nov. 25: “Christmas Cupid’s Arrow.” With Elisabeth Harnois, Jonathan Togo, Chad Michael Collins. A professor realizes the lawyer she met on a dating website doesn’t quite match the depth of his romantic texts and emails.

9 p.m. Dec. 2: “A Wedding for Christmas.” With Vivica A. Fox, Cristine Prosperi, Colton Little. A big-city wedding planner home to help with her sister’s wedding, reunites with her childhood pal.

9 p.m. Dec. 8: “Rent-an-Elf.” With Kim Shaw, Sean Patrick Thomas. A businesswoman who sets up memorable holidays for busy families falls for a new client.

9 p.m. Dec. 9: “A Snow White Christmas." With Carolyn Hennesy, Michelle Randolph, Liam McNeill. Reworking of beloved story finds a woman trying to fulfill her late father’s wishes is hypnotized to forget everything by her not-so-nicestepmother.

9 p.m. Dec. 15: “Country Christmas Album.” With Hannah Barefoot, Evan Gamble, Taylor Bedford. A country singer and pop star collaborate and clash in an attempt to re-energize each of their careers.

9 p.m. Dec. 16: “A Christmas in Royal Fashion." With Cindy Busby, Diarmaid Murtagh, Michael Pare. A prince falls for a PR assistant in a case of mistaken identity.

Barry Watson and Melissa Joan Hart star in "A Very Nutty Christmas" on Lifetime.


These new Lifetime movies have already premiered and will repeat through the season:

“My Christmas Inn." With Tia Mowry-Hardict, Rob Mayes, Jackee Harry.  A San Francisco ad executive on the verge of a promotion inherits an inn in Alaska where she is enchanted by the small town’s festive holiday traditions.

“The Christmas Contract.” With “One Tree Hill” alum Hilarie Burton, Robert Buckley, Danneel Ackles and Antwon Tanner. A woman brings her best friend’s brother home for the holidays to help deal with meeting her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend.

“Poinsettias for Christmas.” With Bethany Joy Lenz, Marcus Rosner, Lauren London. A woman returns home to help save the family’s poinsettia farm and falls for a local botanist.

“Every Day is Christmas.” With Toni Braxton, Gloria Reuben, Michael Jai White. A modern retelling of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol.”

Here are the premiere dates of films yet to air:

8 p.m. Nov. 25: “Jingle Belle.” With Tatyana Ali, Cornelius Smith Jr., Loretta Devine. Former high school sweethearts are reunited to once again put together their hometown Christmas Eve pageant.

8 p.m. Nov. 30. “A Very Nutty Christmas.” With Melissa Joan Hart, Barry Watson, Marissa Winokur. A baker nursing a broken heart wakes up to a soldier in her living room who could be the Nutcracker Prince.

8 p.m. Dec. 1: “A Twist of Christmas.” With Vanessa Lachey, Brendon Zub. Two busy single parents who mix up their kids toys at a department store must get over their differences to salvage Christmas.

8 p.m. Dec. 2: “The Christmas Pact.” With Kyla Pratt, Jarod Joseph, Kadeem Hardison. Two friends try to keep their childhood Christmas pact alive.

8 p.m. Dec. 7: “Christmas Lost and Found.” With Tiya Sircar, Ed Ruttle, Diane Ladd. An event planner home for Christmas for the first time in years, gets a lesson in the holiday spirit from her grandmother.

8 p.m. Dec. 8: “Santa’s Boots.” With Megan Hilty, Noah Mills. A woman who falls for a surprisingly young department store Santa, has only a boot to use in searching for him after he disappears close to Christmas.

8 p.m. Dec. 9: “A Christmas in Tennessee.” With Rachel Boston, Andrew Walker. A single mom who runs a bakery joins in the fight against a charming real estate developer trying to buy their small mountain town for a corporate resort.

8 p.m. Dec. 14: “Christmas Around the Corner.” With Alexandra Breckenridge, Jamie Spilchuk. A visiting businesswoman helps a struggling bookstore only to learn its owner may have other plans.

8 p.m. Dec. 15: “Christmas Pen Pals.” With Sarah Drew, Niall Matter, Michael Gross. A dating app developer home for the holidays makes a deal with her dad to take part in an anonymous holiday pen pal program.

8 p.m. Dec. 16: “Hometown Christmas." With Beverley Mitchell, Stephen Colletti, Melissa Gilbert. High school sweethearts reunite at the holidays and learn their parents share a mutual attraction.

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