Christmas on TV

Ahhh, Christmas, a day when we gather with our kinfolk to unwrap presents while attempting to appreciate the good things in life — family and friends, the warmth of a cozy abode and, of course, the birth of Christ, which may or may not have occurred on the holiday. Inevitably, there comes a point when the excitement dies down, and you're trying to figure out what to do next. If you're not catching up on some Z's, and don't have Christmas cooking commitments, there's always the old standby: holiday programming. For the overexcited young 'uns, there's Elmo's World: Happy Holidays (7-8 a.m., WEDU-Ch. 3 [PBS]), which follows the bright red fuzzy charmer as he searches for a gift for his goldfish. Other worthy broadcast programs include: Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, an animated movie based on the notorious song (9-10 a.m., WTTA-Ch. 38 [WB]); a December 2000 performance of The Nutcracker by Great Britain's most prestigious ballet company, Royal Ballet (noon-2 p.m., WUSF-Ch. 16); the 21st Annual Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade, hosted by Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa (1-3 p.m., WFTS-Ch. 28 [ABC]); and Santa Claus: The Movie, the John Lithgow/Dudley Moore classic (4-6 p.m. on WTOG-Ch. 44 [UPN]). In the evening, there's It's a Wonderful Life (8 p.m., WFLA-Ch. 8 [NBC]); My Dog Skip, not necessarily a holiday movie but charming nonetheless (8 p.m., WTSP-Ch. 10 [CBS]); and Bing Crosby's White Christmas (8 p.m., UPN).

On cable, TBS continues its tradition of showing A Christmas Story on a continuous loop all day long, starting 8 p.m. Christmas Eve and ending at 8 p.m. Christmas night. Not to be outdone, FX is showing Jingle All the Way from 12:01 a.m. to 6 p.m. Christmas day. (Yes, this is the Arnold Schwarzenegger Christmas flick, and aside from the theme, the reasoning behind this selection remains a mystery. However, my boyfriend has assured me that Sinbad's comedic antics more than make up for the presence of the square-headed buffoon.)

For those who still enjoy a little Charlton Heston on their holiday, Ben Hur appears on Turner Classic Movies at 10:30 a.m., and TCM also features The Greatest Story Ever Told from 2:30 to 6 p.m.

Other stuff you don't want to miss: The Christmas Special Christmas Special on Bravo, a "list" show where stars and experts give an insider's look at the behind-the-scenes workings of the holiday television show genre (1-2 p.m.); The Muppet Christmas Carol with Michael Caine as Scrooge and Kermit as Bob Cratchit (noon-1:30 p.m., ABC Family); and a plethora of cheesy, made-for-TV gems on The Hallmark Channel. Finally, if you're lucky enough to have TRIO, there's a complete day of appealing holiday fare, including A Motown Christmas, 12 Days of Christmas Eve (a sort of Groundhog Day starring Steven Weber), Santa Who? (with Leslie Neilson, enough said), and the Judy Garland Show Christmas (from 1963). Not satisfied with these pickings? Find your own selections by going to

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