2023 Holiday Television Guide

November 27, 2023

BY Eric Rezsnyak

Holiday television specials are an essential ingredient in making Christmases bright. Each year presents new entries, and the best of them are memorable and keep us coming back to them year after year. Below find an ever-evolving list of holiday television programming for 2023 — more will be added as it is announced — for traditional television networks, cable channels, and streaming services.

Looking for ideas on what to watch? Check out the Great Pop Culture Debate’s Best Holiday TV Special episode here. And make sure to check our Holidays Collection for even more Christmas-themed podcasts covering movies, music, and more.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive listing of all the Hallmark Christmas movies, I’m just going to give you a link to that site. It literally never stops.

Note that we are not including content from Great American Family or UPtv, because we are proud sodomites, and we don’t know her. You’ll need to look for that content on your own.

BTW: CBS already aired “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” right after Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 27

“That’s My Jam” 9-10pm, NBC/Peacock

Holiday special for the Jimmy Fallon-hosted musical game show.

Tuesday, November 28

“Press Your Luck” Holiday Extravaganza II 10-11pm, ABC

Elizabeth Banks hosts another holiday edition of the terrific primetime game show. No whammies!

Wednesday, November 29

“Christmas in Rockefeller Center” 8-10pm, NBC/Peacock

Kelly Clarkson hosts the iconic tree-lighting telecast. Performances by Cher, Keke Palmer, Chloe Bailey, David Foster and Katharine McPhee, Darlene Love, Seth MacFarlane, and Barry Manilow. 

“Christmas at Graceland” 10-11pm, NBC/Peacock (encore presentation 12/21 8pm)

John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Lana Del Rey, Post Malone, Alanis Morissette, Lainey Wilson, The War and Treaty perform holiday music from Elvis’ estate.

Thursday, November 30

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” 8-8:30pm, NBC (encore presentation 12/25 8pm)

The 1966 cartoon classic; the 2000 live-action version with Jim Carrey will air on NBC immediately following the 12/25 encore presentation.

“Shrek the Halls” 8:30-9pm, NBC (encore presentation 12/9 9pm)

2007 animated special featuring the Shrek characters celebrating Christmas.

“A Royal Christmas Surprise” BET+

Kentuckian Riley hosts her fiancee’s parents — who happen to be South African royalty — and receives an unwelcome surpise that will jeopardize her plans with her future husband.

“The Christmas Ringer” BET+

The reigning Princess of Christmas and defunct R&B singer retreats to her family’s home for the holidays where her mother convinces her to direct the family’s ragtag church choir. 

“Family Switch” Netflix

Jennifer Garner and Ed Helms star in this family film that’s basically “Freaky Friday” but with the entire family.

“The Bad Guys: A Very Bad Holiday” Netflix

The super villains from the 2022 animated film return for a holiday special.

Friday, December 1

“Frog and Toad Christmas Special” Apple TV+

New holiday special featuring the animated amphibian friends.

“The Snoopy Show” Christmas Special Apple TV+

Snoopy and Woodstock star in this new Christmas special.

“Shape Island” Winter Special Apple TV+

A new holiday special for the stop-motion series for kids and families introducing a new celebration: Yeti Night. 

“Candy Cane Lane” Prime Video

New made-for-TV holiday film starring Eddie Murphy, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Nick Offerman about a man who makes a deal with an elf to make the 12 days of Christmas come to life.

“The Sacrifice Game” Shudder/AMC+

Boarding-school students are terrorized on Christmas break when a gang breaks in and summons a demon. Yes, it’s a Christmas film!

Saturday, December 2

“Reindeer in Here” 8-9pm, CBS

A rebroadcast of the 2022 animated holiday special featuring the voices of Jim Gaffigan, Henry Winkler, Jo Koy, Donald Faison and others.

“Robbie The Reindeer” 9-10pm, CBS
A collection of British animated shorts starring Rudolph’s son, with star-studded voice cameos like Robbie Williams, Keira Knightley, Ozzy Osborne, and Graham Norton.

“Ladies of the 80s: A Divas Christmas” 8pm, Lifetime

Loni Anderson! Morgan Fairchild! Linda Gray! Donna Mills! Nicollette Sheridan! That’s all you need to know!

“A Christmas Serenade” 9pm, OWN

When Jeremiah returns home for the first time in years to play a gig with his band, he is recruited to take over as the minister of music for the annual Christmas Jubilee at his home church reigniting the feud, and romance, between the pastor’s daughter Willow.

Sunday, December 3

“The Santa Clause” 8-10pm, ABC

The original Tim Allen film from the 1990s is available for free.

“The Great Christmas Light Fight” 10-11pm, ABC

Season 11 of the reality competition featuring real people’s elaborate holiday decorations continues.

“Mistletoe Match” 8pm, Lifetime

With the holiday season in full swing, an author goes undercover to provide her readers with an in-depth and cynical look at the hugely successful annual Secret Santa for Singles event.

Monday, December 4

“The Price is Right at Night Christmas Week” 8pm, CBS

Drew Carey has contestants come on down for an office holiday party edition.

“Blake Shelton’s Holiday Bartacular” 10-11pm, NBC (next day on Peacock)

A holiday special from the “Barmaggedon” series features Ice T stopping by for season bar games including axe throwing, as one does.

Tuesday, December 5

“The Price is Right at Night Christmas Week” 8pm, CBS

The showcase showdown continues with college students home for the holidays.

“TMZ’s Merry Elfin’ Christmas” 9pm, Fox

I’ll be honest, I don’t even want to know.

Thursday, December 7

“Christmas at the Opry” 8-10pm NBC (encore 12/20 9pm)

Wynonna Judd hosts country-music luminaries performing holiday classic, Christmas pop, and contemporary hits.

“The Price is Right at Night Christmas Week” 8pm, CBS

It goes on like this, with the theme “blind holidate.” What does it mean? It means there was a strike this summer and nobody made new TV programming.

“Never Alone for Christmas” BET+

After a couple calls off its engagement, they inadvertently end up at the same Cajun Christmas retreat for singles with someone new on their arms. Featuring Macy Gray!

Friday, December 8

“Great British Baking Show Holidays” Netflix

Americans finally get to enjoy the 2022 holiday specials, one featuring a group of British TV presenters you almost certainly don’t know, and the other featuring former “Baking Show” contestants including studly Chigs.

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever” Disney+

The popular kids book series has an animated holiday special in which Greg Heffley worries he won’t get the gift he desperately wants for Christmas.

“Merry Little Batman” Amazon Prime Video

Animated special starring Batman’s son, Damien Wayne, as he has to protect Wayne Manor after being left — wait for it — home alone.

“The Price is Right at Night Christmas Week” 8pm, CBS

The madness ends with a theme of “holiday heroes,” which probably honors first responders, medical professionals, etc., but honestly, the real holiday heroes are retail workers and airline attendants. Let’s be real.

“Shark Tank” 8-9pm, ABC

It’s Christmas in the Shark Tank as aspiring inventors bring holiday-related products before the Three Wise People and Mr. Wonderful.

Saturday, December 9

Byron Allen Present a Merry Soulful Christmas” 8pm, CBS

I wish I could tell you more about this, but there are literally no details anywhere I could find. It’ll be music, and soulful, and merry, and Christmas. I’m sure of that.

“Trolls: Holiday in Harmony” 8:30-9pm, NBC

The Trolls crew returns in this holiday special from 2021, featuring most of the film-series voices including Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake.

“A Christmas of Yes” 9pm, OWN

Amy Bell is a pro at turning down party invitations, vacations with friends, and even dates with eligible bachelors because she’s been laser-focused on her job. When her job is eliminated, her brother dares her to do something terrifying: say “yes” to everything this holiday season.  

“A Cowboy Christmas Romance” 9pm, Lifetime

One week before Christmas, a huge business deal sends a real estate “closer” back to a place she swore she’d never return to: her hometown of Tubac, Arizona.

Sunday, December 10

“A Very Brady Christmas” 6pm, MeTV

A rebroadcast of the 1988 holiday special reuniting the classic “Brady Bunch” cast — except Cindy! Who was presumably too busy brawling in Toys R Us for a Kitty Karry-All doll.

“Mickey Saves Christmas” 7-7:30pm, ABC

A rebroadcast of the 2022 animated holiday special starring Mickey Mouse and friends.

“Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” 7:30-8pm, ABC

The 2017 “Frozen” holiday special in which Olaf attempts to find new holiday traditions for Anna and Elsa to enjoy.

“Frozen” 8-10pm, ABC

The 2013 animated film that launched a thousand Elsa princess costumes. Is it technically a holiday special? Debatable, but we’ll allow it.

“MasterChef Junior: Home for the Holidays” 8pm, Fox

I fully support putting your children to work in the kitchen for the holidays. It’s a family tradition in our house!

“Yes, Chef! Christmas” 8pm, Lifetime

Tia Mowry stars as a culinary school instructor who has put both her true career aspirations and personal life on the back burner. But this holiday season, fate is on her side.

“The Great Christmas Light Fight” 10-11pm, ABC

Season 11 of the reality competition featuring real people’s elaborate holiday decorations continues.

Monday, December 11

“MasterChef Junior: Home for the Holidays” 8pm, Fox

The child labor continues.

“Barry Manilow’s A Very Barry Christmas” 10-11pm, NBC (encore 12/20 8pm)

Fanilows rejoice: Barry and a 24-piece band will perform his greatest hits, as well as holiday favorites.

Tuesday, December 12

“Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” 8-9pm, ABC

The classic 1970 Rankin-Bass stop-motion animated special returns.

“The Masked Singer Holiday Sing-Along” 8pm, Fox

Gentle reminder that the majority of these panelists are deplorable. But hey, those singer costumes really are something!

“The Great Christmas Light Fight” 9-11pm, ABC

Season 11 of the reality competition featuring real people’s elaborate holiday decorations continues with two new episodes.

Wednesday, December 13

“Celebrity Family Feud: Rosie O’Donnell vs. Billy Porter” 8-9pm, ABC

In this holiday special, host Steve Harvey will try to find the meaning of the season while losing his mind having to share the stage with all of these gay people.

“Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” 9-10pm, ABC

In this holiday special, Matt Rogers, some person named Lil Rel Howley, and PAULA ABDUL buy vowels and find Christmas magic.

“The $100,000 Pyramid” 10-11pm, ABC

More holiday game-show shenanigans, with actress Malin Akerman vs. Matt Walsh and Backstreet Boys AJ and Howie facing off together.

Thursday, December 14

“That Clip Show: Holiday Edition” 8pm, NBC 

Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila offer commentary on real-life holiday viral videos.

“A Saturday Night Live Christmas Special” 8-10pm, NBC (encore 12/23 9pm)

Relive some of “SNL”’s most memorable Chrirstmas-themed sketches from the past 48 season.

“CMA Country Christmas” 8-9pm, ABC

ABC couldn’t be bothered to list who was performing, so I can’t either.

“Favorite Son Christmas” BET+

The new pastor of a church discovers it in financial ruins. Will the brothers and their wives overcome old gripes and truly reconcile for this Christmas reunion to be successful?

“Christmas Rescue” BET+

A man abducts the love of his life from her holiday-themed wedding in a desperate last attempt to win her back. I’m not sure “abduction” is a great premise for a holiday movie, but hey, it’s got Robin Givens and Mario van Peebles.

Friday, December 15

“National Christmas Tree Lighting” 8pm, CBS

Featuring performances by Darren Criss, Dionne Warwick, Renee Rapp, Samara Joy, and St. Vincent.

“Dolly Parton’s A Coat of Many Colors” 8-10pm, NBC

Rebroadcast of the 2015 TV special retelling Dolly Parton’s life story, with Jennifer Nettles, Ricky Schroder, and Gerald McRaney.

Saturday, December 16

“The Holiday Proposal Plan” 8pm, Lifetime

A travel columnist (Tatyana Ali) and her ex-boyfriend are forced to team up to help their best friends get engaged.

“Frosty The Snowman” 9pm, CBS

“Frosty Returns” 9:30pm, CBS 

A double feature of the animated holiday classics from the 1960s (original recipe Frosty) and 1990s (Returns).

“The Christmas Detective” 9pm, OWN

A former beauty queen-turned-private investigator finds her calling, reunites with an old flame, and spreads the Christmas spirit when she takes the case of a famous missing portrait at a boutique art gallery.  

Saturday, December 16-Sunday, December 17

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” Apple TV+ (FREE)
Apple’s holiday gift to the peasants is free access to this cartoon classic all weekend long.

Monday, December 18

“The Price is Right at Night Christmas Week” 8pm, CBS

One last chance to bid as Drew Carey celebrates holidays with the family. Haven’t we suffered enough?

“Lego Masters Celebrity Holiday Bricktacular” 8pm, Fox

Before you step on an errant Lego piece on December 26, enjoy the iconic toy via this holiday special.

“Password Holiday Special” 10-11pm, NBC

Keke Palmer and Jimmy Fallon host a holiday-themed edition of the celebrity word game.

Tuesday, December 19

“Disney Prep & Landing” 8-8:30pm, ABC

“Disney Prep & Landing 2: Naughty vs. Nice” 8:30-9pm, ABC

Elves Wally and Lanny return for encore presentations of these animated specials from 2009 and 2011.

“The Great Christmas Light Fight” 10-11pm, ABC

Season 11 of the reality competition featuring real people’s elaborate holiday decorations concludes.

Thursday, December 21

“iHeart Radio Jingle Ball 2023” 8-10pm, ABC

Performances by Olivia Rodrigo, Nicki Minaj, SZA, Usher, Niall Horan, One Republic and oodles of other young people you have probably never heard of, but your kids will enjoy.

“Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas” 9-11pm, NBC

Dolly’s 2022 holiday special features Jimmy Fallon, Willie Nelson, Miley Cyrus, and more.

“Whatever It Takes” BET

Five women reunite on Thanksgiving weekend to bond over the state of their love lives. Starring Tami Roman and Kandi Burruss.

Friday, December 22

“The 25th Annual A Home For The Holidays” 8pm, CBS

“Fit For Christmas” 9pm, CBS

CBS’ version of a Hallmark film, about Christmas-obsessed fitness instructor working out of a struggling community center who starts up a romance with the businessman looking to take over the center. 

“Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love” 8-10pm, NBC

Rebroadcast of the 2016 TV special in which an unexpected blizzard threatens the Parton family, featuring Dolly herself as a prostitute. I swear it’s true.

Saturday, December 23

“Christmas Revisited” 9pm, OWN

A group of old college friends gather for Christmas at their recently deceased friend’s mountain cabin as old resentments, secrets and unexpected romance blossom.

Sunday, December 24

“Sago Mini Friends” New Year’s Eve Special, Apple TV+

A holiday special for children set in the joyful town of Sagoville.

“Home Alone” 8-10pm, ABC

The real ones know that the “Home Alone 2” is a superior movie, but here’s your chance to see the most charming case of child neglect/elder abuse committed to film for free this year.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” 8-11pm, NBC

Your best way to watch the Frank Capra classic for free this holiday season. Also, who names their child “Zuzu”?

“When Christmas Was Young” 9pm, CBS

Rebroadcast of the 2022 special, with music by Sheryl Crow, about a stubborn music manager who falls in love with a struggling singer-songwriter.

“Christmas Eve Mass” 11:30pm-1am, NBC

Stay up late and attract the ire of Santa by watching Pope Francis lead mass from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Monday, December 25

“Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade” 10am-noon, ABC

None of us can afford to go to Disney parks during the holidays, so enjoy the magic of the 40th annual parade from the comfort of your own home.

“Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas To All!” 9pm, CBS

You didn’t really think a whole Christmas would go by without Mariah on your television, did you? That’s not how this works!

“Doctor Who Holiday Special: The Church on Ruby Road” Disney+

The last of the three 60th Anniversary specials of the long-running British sci-fi special is the Christmas special which bids adieu to David Tennant and Catherine Tate, and ushers in new Doctor Ncuti Gatwa for his first season early next year.

Friday, December 29

“Must Love Christmas” 9pm, CBS

Another 2022 rebroadcast; a romance novelist with a batch of Christmas-themed books is snowbound and finds herself in a love triangle. Girl, it’s the 2020s; just go poly. The end.

Sunday, December 31

“New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash” 7:30pm, CBS

“Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 2024 with Ryan Seacrest” 8pm-2am, ABC

I think it’s really sweet that they have kept Dick Clark’s name on the annual NYE programming, but at this point he’s been gone more than a decade. At what point does this start getting weird? I think maybe now.

Monday, January 1

“135th Rose Bowl Parade” 11am-1pm, NBC

Kick off the new year with flower-covered floats and marching bands, hosted by Hoda Kotb and Al Roker.


“The Santa Clauses” Season 2, Disney+

Scott Calvin contends with a changing world to keep the spirit of Christmas alive for a new generation.

“Strawberry Shortcake: Perfect Holiday” Netflix

Strawberry and her Berry buddies pull together and help save Winter Swirl, working against a cookie-stealing villain. Please let it be Cookie Monster. The crossover we need now!


“The Bitch Who Stole Christmas” Paramount+

RuPaul stars in a campy modern holiday classic along with several “Drag Race” alum in a tale about a relentless business mogul who finds the meaning of Christmas in a send-up of Hallmark movies.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-Slay Spectacular” Paramount+

Remember that time Jasmine Masters refused to lipsynch and covered her face with a gift bag instead? Relive the magic now.

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