At my last count more than 100 new holiday movies are debuting this year. Which is a lot. (A. LOT.) On top of that we also have holiday-related episodes of shows, holiday specials like Rudolph and Frosty, and airings of holiday classics like Elf or The Santa Clause. And ON TOP OF THAT, we have brand-new holiday specials like Freeform’s Wrap Battle or the Food Network’s many Christmas cooking competitions. We are not lacking for holiday programming, friends.
On this week’s podcast episode, my brother James and I are talking about our favorite holiday specials. Research for that episode led me to look up all the new specials airing this year and I was shocked to find more than 50! I was also frustrated looking for one place to find all those specials. I couldn’t find it. Therefore it must not exist. Until now. This is the new place for all the specials. So it exists! Problem solved!
And if you happen to love holiday movies as much as holiday specials but feel frustrated because you cut cable? I’ve got a solution for you! Frndly TV is a streaming app that has all three (THREE!) Hallmark channels, as well as several other family-friendly channels. You can watch live or on demand, and it’s as low as $5.99. Check it out with a FREE 7-day trial here.
What follows is a list of every new holiday special airing on television in 2019, at least as far as I know. Holiday specials, not holiday episodes or movies. And I’m not including dog shows or beauty pageants for no other reason than I didn’t want to. Also, I did include a few classics and it’s quite possible I’ve missed some; feel free to tell me if I have. If I run across other specials, I’ll add them. But for now, for today, here are the specials (listed by channel):
- A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING, airing Wednesday, November 27.
- THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY: MAGICAL HOLIDAY CELEBRATION, airing Thursday, November 28. Sneak peeks at the parks and musical performances.
- THE GREAT CHRISTMAS LIGHT FIGHT, premiering Monday, December 2. Families compete to win $50,000 with their extravagant light displays.
- CMA COUNTRY CHRISTMAS, airing Tuesday, December 3. Trisha Yearwood will host the 10th annual music celebration.
- A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, airing Thursday, December 5. Set your DVRs!
- THE GREAT AMERICAN BAKING SHOW: HOLIDAY EDITION, premiering Thursday, December 12.
- THE YEAR: 2019, ABC NEWS, airing Sunday, December 22.
- DISNEY PARKS MAGICAL CHRISTMAS DAY PARADE, airing Wednesday, December 25. More sneak peeks of the parks, heartwarming stories, and celebrity performances.
- DICK CLARK’S PRIMETIME NEW YEAR’S ROCKIN’ EVE WITH RYAN SEACREST 2020, airing Monday, December 31.
- THE THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE ON CBS, airing Thursday, November 28.
- THE 42nd ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS, airing Sunday, December 15. Honors will be presented to Earth, Wind & Fire and Sesame Street, among others.
- A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS WITH IDINA MENZEL, airing Sunday, December 22. Musical performances and uplifting stories about adoption from foster care.
- THE MOODYS, premiering Wednesday, December 4. Six-episode miniseries about a close but dysfunctional family at the holidays.
- DOLLY PARTON: 50 YEARS AT THE OPRY, airing Tuesday, November 26. We are clearly in a Dolly renaissance this year!
- THE ELLEN’S GAME OF GAMES, airing Wednesday, November 27.
- SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE THANKSGIVING SPECIAL, airing Wednesday, November 27.
- THE 93rd ANNUAL MACY’S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE, airing Thursday, November 28.
- IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, airing Saturday, November 30. I know it’s not new, guys. I know.
- MAKING IT, premiering Monday, December 2. I’m not sure if this will be holiday themed, but I loved the first season and want this to be holiday themed, so I’m including it here.
- THE 87th ANNUAL CHRISTMAS IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER, airing Wednesday, December 4.
- A SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, airing Thursday, December 5.
- ELLEN’S GREATEST NIGHT OF GIVEAWAYS, airing December 10-12. So much Ellen!
- A LEGENDARY CHRISTMAS WITH JOHN AND CHRISSY, airing Thursday, December 12. This was originally aired in 2018.
- HOLIDAYS WITH THE HOUGHS, airing Monday, December 16. I’m guessing there will be dancing.
- MASS FROM POPE FRANCIS AT ST. PETER’S BASILICA IN ROME, airing Tuesday, December 24.
- A TOAST TO 2019! airing Tuesday, December 31.
- NBC NEW YEAR’S EVE SPECIAL, airing Tuesday, December 31.
- THE 131st ANNUAL TOURNAMENT OF ROSES PARADE, airing January 1.
- A CLASSIC CHRISTMAS (MY MUSIC), airing Saturday, November 16. Performances of classics and standards by favorite artists like Bing Crosby and The Carpenters.
- A CHEF’S LIFE HOLIDAY SPECIAL, airing Friday, December 13. Southern cooking and Chanukah traditions from Chef Vivian Howard.
- CHRISTMAS WITH THE TABERNACLE CHOIR FEATURING KRISTIN CHENOWETH, airing Monday, December 16.
- CHRISTMAS AT BELMONT, airing Monday, December 23. Musical performances from Belmont University students, Michael W. Smith, CeCe Winans, and the Nashville Children’s Choir.
- LUCY WORSLEY’S 12 DAYS OF TUDOR CHRISTMAS, airing Wednesday, December 25.
- AUSTIN CITY LIMITS 6th ANNUAL HALL OF FAME HONORS, airing Saturday, December 28. Musical performances.
- NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC NEW YEAR’S EVE 2019: SONDHEIM CELEBRATION, airing Tuesday, December 31. Music from Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd and more.
- FROM VIENNA: THE NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATION 2020, airing Wednesday, January 1. Featuring the orchestra and the Vienna City Ballet.
- THE KACEY MUSGRAVES CHRISTMAS SHOW, premiering Friday, November 29. I heard it’s going to be heartwarming and absurd, whatever that means.
- DISNEY CHANNEL HOLIDAY PARTY @ WALT DISNEY WORLD, airing Friday, December 13. Performances by Disney Channel stars, a preview of a new movie, and a family segment about Toys for Tots.
- HOLIDAY GINGERBREAD SHOWDOWN, premiering Sunday, December 1.
- GINGERBREAD GIANTS, airing Thursday, December 19.
- WRAP BATTLE, premiering Monday, November 25. Contestants battle to become the ultimate wrapper with celebrity judges.
- OUTRAGEOUS HOLIDAY HOUSES, airing Thursday, November 28. Featured houses include homes in festive-sounding towns like Santa Claus, Indiana, and North Pole, Alaska.
- CHRISTMAS COOKIE MATCHUP, premiering Wednesday, November 13. The cast of When Calls the Heart will join talented home bakers in a cookie baking challenge.
- PROJECT CHRISTMAS JOY: ALABAMA, date TBA. Hallmark will help towns devastated by 2019 tornadoes, decorating a community church, hosting a community event, and sponsoring homes to be built for those who lost theirs.
- BATTLE OF THE CHRISTMAS MOVIE STARS, premiering Saturday, December 21. Contest to see which of the season’s biggest stars will be crowned King or Queen of Lifetime Christmas.
- NAILED IT! HOLIDAY! Available Friday, November 22.
- THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW: HOLIDAYS, available Friday, November 22.
- MERRY HAPPY WHATEVER, premiering Thursday, November 28. Eight-episode miniseries about a young woman who takes her boyfriend home for the holidays.
- SUGAR RUSH CHRISTMAS, available November 29.
- JOHN MULANEY & THE SACK LUNCH BUNCH: A MUSICAL CHILDREN’S SPECIAL FROM A MAN WITH NEITHER CHILDREN NOR MUSICAL ABILITY, available December 24.
- TOP ELF, premiering November 29. Children’s game show where contestants use their building and design skills in holiday-themed challenges.
- A CHRISTMAS STORY 24-HOUR MARATHON, beginning Tuesday, December 24.
- PENN & TELLER: MERRY FOOL US, airing November 29. I hear this will involve magicians, costumes and a Christmas trophy. A Christmas trophy!
- THE 88th ANNUAL HOLLYWOOD CHRISTMAS PARADE, airing December 13. This is, apparently, the “Largest Christmas Celebration in America.” Why not, when the grand marshal is Mario Lopez?
- THE CHRISTMAS CAROLER CHALLENGE, premiering December 15. Six episodes of competing carolers. Sign me up!
- GREATEST HOLIDAY COMMERCIALS COUNTDOWN 2019, airing December 16. They’ll count down the top 12 commercials in honor of the 12 days of Christmas.
- DOGS OF THE YEAR, airing December 17. This award show will celebrate, AND I QUOTE, “dogs that go above and beyond, that leave their mark on society, and achieve the nearly impossible.” Can’t make that up!
- MASTERS OF ILLUSION: CHRISTMAS MAGIC 2019, premiering December 18. This special will be hosted by Dean Cain and feature some of today’s hottest magicians. Nope, I didn’t know that was a thing either!
- POPSTAR’S BEST OF 2019, airing December 27. This is a countdown of pop culture’s biggest moments and most memorable trends.
What holiday specials are you planning to watch this year?
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