1) Disney Parks parade, 10 a.m. to noon ET, 9-11 a.m. in all other time zones, ABC. Christmas Day starts – once the gifts are unwrapped – with lots of upbeat pop music. That’s taped in advance from the parks, with Sting, Shaggy, Pentatonix, Portugal, Ingrid Michaelson, Ally Brooke and Grace VanderWaal. Hosting the parade are Matthew Morrison and Emma Bunton (they’re shown here) plus Jesse Palmer.
2) “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” 8 p.m., NBC. And Christmas Day concludes in a great way, with this cartoon masterpiece. It does it all – humor, warmth and music – in just 30 minutes … which makes us wonder why the Jim Carrey movie (8:30 on NBC) needs two-and-a-half hours for the same story.
3) “Call the Midwife Holiday Special,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS. At first, the “Midwife” series was set in the 1950s; post-war England was struggling and nurses faced primitive conditions. Now we’re in the ‘60s, London life feels quite modern … but then people are dispatched to a distant Scottish island, where conditions are tough. The result is a pleasant and upbeat drama.
4) More dramas, 8 p.m. Hallmark debuts “When Calls the Heart: Home For Christmas”; set in Canada’s frontier days, it finds Lucas planning a German-style holiday and Nathan considering a job elsewhere. And Fox starts a rerun of “The Moodys,” a first-rate comedy-drama. As a family gathers for the holidays, secrets unfold; it’s a three-hour mini-series, with the final hour at 9 p.m. Thursday.
5) And more: The annual pro-basketball marathon has two games on ESPN (noon and 10:30 p.m. ET), sandwiching three on ABC (2:30, 5 and 8 p.m. ET). Kids will find lots of old Rankin/Bass cartoons – so-so ones from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on AMC, then the popular ones on Freeform – “Frosty” at 3:10 p.m., “Rudolph” at 3:40, “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” at 4:45. And there are movies, including, at 5 p.m, both “Elf” on AMC and “Muppet Christmas Carol” on Disney XD.