“A Christmas Story” (1983), 8 p.m., 10 p.m. etc., TBS and TNT.
One of the smartest
TV traditions returns, with this movie repeated every two hours, for
24 hours. And no, it's not one of those pat-and-predictable tales;
based on Jean Shepherd's memoir of a 1940s, Midwestern childhood,
it's sometimes dark, sometimes surprising, often very funny.
plays little Ralphie, whose only goal is to get a BB gun for
Christmas. Yes, back then kids got real weapons as presents; it was a
strange (and in this case funny) time.
“CMA Country Christmas,” 9-11 p.m., ABC.
This could be the
perfect soundtrack to your Christmas Eve – a rerun of last month's
hosts and sings, as part of a cascade of country stars, old (Loretta
Lynn, Dolly Parton), new (Kelsea Ballerini) and in-between (Brad
Paisley, Trisha Yearwood, Chri Young, Rascal Flatts). There are also
pop stars – Kelly Clarkson, Amy Grant, Andra Day – plus
Broadway's Idina Menzel, contemporary Christian singer Amy Grant and
recent “Voice” champion Jordan Smith.
Football, all day.
falling on a Sunday, pro games are on Christmas Eve – another odd
time for football. Most are at 1 p.m. ET on Fox or CBS, at 4:05 p.m.
on CBS or at 4:25 on Fox. At 8:25. cable's NFL Network has Houston
(8-6 and tied for its division lead) hosting Cincinnati (5-8-1).
That still leaves
two games for Sunday (Ravens-Steelers and Broncos-Chiefs) and one for
Monday (Lions-Cowboys). If you prefer college games played in pretty
places, the Hawaii Bowl is 8 p.m. ET today on ESPN, with Middle
Tennessee (8-4) and Hawaii (6-7).
cartoons, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Freeform. By now, the kids definitely
need distractions. The former ABC Family channel has the “Jack
Frost” cartoon at 7 a.m. and Mickey Mouse compilations at 8:05 and
9:40. That's followed by “Santa Claus is Comin' to Town” at 11:15
a.m., “The Year Without a Santa Claus” at 12:20 p.m. and a fairly
clever movie, “Arthur Christmas” (2011) at 1:25.
Yule log, 5 p.m.,
Hallmark Movies & Mystries. For 24 hours, this has a burning log
and Christmas music. If you prefer reruns of Christmas TV movies,
they're on Hallmark, Lifetime, Ion and UP.
Xmas Carol,” 7 p.m., TBS and TNT. In previous years, TNT had
gorgeous “Christmas in Washington” concerts. Now, instead, it has
pop-up caroling by Charles Barkley, Fred Willard, Shaquille O'Neal
and more. We're not sure this is propelling our cultural forwared.
Wonderful Life” (1946), 8-11 p.m., NBC. This classic movie – No.
20 on the American Film Institute's all-time list – has its second
run this season on NBC, alongside a pair of cable showings.
“Prep and Landing”
and “Prep and Landing 2,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., ABC. Slick and clever,
these animated reruns focus on the high-tech guys who prepare each of
Santa's arrivals and take-offs.
9 p.m., Fox. Yes, tonight does have some reruns of standard crime
tales. This one involves the deranged nephew of a drug lord. At 8
p.m., Fox's “Bones” probes the murder of a journalist and CBS'
“Scorpion” has the team racing to find who hacked Los Angeles'
NBC and CBS. At 11:30, NBC goes to St. Peter's Basilica, where Pope
Francis will celebrate midnight Mass; at 11:35, CBS has music by the
students and faculty of Berea College in Kentucky – which started
in 1855, as the only Southern college with black and white men and