Originally created 12/24/01

Christmas specials worthy of the name



Here's a look at TV Christmas specials and holiday episodes airing Sunday through the Big Day itself. (The times are EST/PST.)

SUNDAY (Dec. 23)

- "Holiday Movie Magic" at 6:30 p.m. on CBS. This special looks at the season's movies.

- "Jingle All the Way" at 7 p.m. on ABC. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad star as two fathers desperately trying to get the last remaining Turbo Man toy. It's too bad they waited until Christmas Eve to do their shopping.

- "The Brady Bunch" at 7 p.m. on TV Land. Carol loses her voice when she's supposed to sing "Oh Holy Night" at church.

- "Miracle on 34th Street" at 8 p.m. on ABC Family Channel. Richard Attenborough and Elizabeth Perkins star in this 1994 remake. But I much prefer the original movie, which airs on Christmas Eve on American Movie Classics.

- "Scrooge" at 8 p.m. on Camarillo station KADY. Alastair Sim stars in this 1951 fantasy, which remains the best cinematic version of "A Christmas Carol."

- "Emeril's Happy Happy Holidays" at 8 p.m. on The Food Network. Emeril Lagasse's special includes roast goose with port gravy. Yummy.

- "Al Roker's Colonial Christmas" at 9 p.m. on The Food Network. The "Today Show" weatherman is the host of this special about colonial Williamsburg, Va.

- "I'll Be Home for Christmas" at 10 p.m. on Family Channel. In ths 1988 drama, Hal Holbrook and Eva Marie Saint star as New England parents waiting for their son to return from the battlefield.

MONDAY (Dec. 24)

- "Miracle on 34th Street" at 7:15 and 9:30 p.m. on American Movie Classics. The 1947 Oscar-winning classic has humor, drama and a lot of heart, and Edmund Gwenn makes the perfect Santa. Maureen O'Hara plays the skeptical mother, and Natalie Wood is the young daughter who thinks Macy's Santa might just be the real Kriss Kringle. A behind-the-scenes look at the movie airs at 9 p.m. on AMC.

- "A Christmas Story" at 7:15 and 8:40 p.m. on TNT. Peter Billingsley and Darren McGavin do a great job in this sweet 1983 comedy about a boy who only wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. If nothing else, this funny film warns against sticking your tongue on an icy pole.

- "Ernest Saves Christmas" at 8 p.m. on ABC. Jim Varney reprised his Ernest character from all those commercials for this 1988 comedy. A cab driver and Santa Claus try to help a cynical teen-ager.

- "It's a Wonderful Life" at 8 p.m. on NBC. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed star in director Frank Capra's inspirational 1946 classic. The angel Clarence shows a suicidal businessman what life would be like without him.

- "Bing Crosby Christmas: Like the Ones We Used to Know" at 8 p.m. on Bravo. Here are clips from the crooner's Christmas specials.

- "'Tis the Season to Be Smurfy" at 8 p.m. on Cartoon Network. The blue creatures celebrate the holidays.

- "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" at 8 p.m. on ABC Family Channel. Fred Astaire is the narrator of this Claymation special.

- "Emeril's All-Star Holiday Bash" at 8 p.m. on Food Network. Lagasse is the host of this special in which chefs share their plans for holiday parties.

- "Scooby Doo: The Nutcracker Scoob" at 8:30 p.m. on Cartoon Network. The Scooby Gang must stop a wicked man and a ghostly figure from disrupting Christmas at a school.

- "Prancer Returns" at 9 p.m. on the USA network. The famous reindeer helps a shattered family. This new movie stars Stacy Edwards and John Corbett.

- "Ally McBeal" at 9 p.m. on Fox, Channel 11. In this rerun, Nelle's father is fired from his teaching job because he believes he's Santa Claus.

- "Everybody Loves Raymond" at 9 p.m. on CBS, Channel 2. This repeat, "Christmas Present," is about a golf trip.

TUESDAY (Dec. 25)

- "The Ultimate Christmas Present" at 7 p.m. on The Disney Channel. Two kids try to make it snow in Los Angeles. Hallee Hirsh and Brenda Song star.

- "Miracle on 34th Street" at 7 p.m. on ABC Family Channel. Richard Attenborough and Elizabeth Perkins star in this 1994 remake.

- "Christmas: Behind the Traditions" at 7 p.m. on HGTV. This special looks at the origin of holiday traditions.

- "The Bells of St. Mary's" at 7:15 p.m. on Turner Classic Movies. In this 1945 classic, Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman star as a priest and a nun trying to get the land and money needed for a new school.

- "Bernie Mac" at 8:30 p.m. on Fox. In this rerun called "A Christmas Story," the kids find a stray dog.

- "Scrooged" at 9 p.m on TNT. Bill Murray stars as a heartless corporate chief in this 1988 update of "A Christmas Carol."

- "Holiday Festival on Ice" at 10 p.m. on NBC. Skaters such as Ekaterina Gordeeva and Brian Orser perform routines with a holiday theme at the Sarnia Arena in Ontario, Canada.