What to Watch: Your Guide to 35 Christmas Week Marathons, Specials, Finales and More

christmas-2013-what-to-watchYour shows may be in reruns now, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to watch this Christmas week. If you look around, you’ll find marathons of TV shows past (Breaking Bad), classic holiday movies (A Christmas Story), new installments of (a few!) current faves and, lest we not forget, Nikita‘s very final mission. So while those chestnuts roast on the fire, relax on the couch with these Christmas picks.

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8 pm The Sing-Off (NBC) | Two-hour season finale: The remaining three groups battle for the crown, and a double elimination reveals the winner. (Not yet renewed.)

8 pm The iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2013 (CW) | If you missed last week’s airing of the annual concert special, here’s a chance to see performers including Paramore, Miley Cyrus, Fall Out Boy and Macklemore.

9 pm The Great Christmas Light Fight (ABC) | Season finale: Another family collects $50,000… and (presumably!) spends the next month taking the decorations down.

9 pm Christmas in Norway With the St. Olaf Choir (PBS) | From Rose Nylund’s hometown Norway’s historic Nidaros Cathedral, the 75-voice St. Olaf Choir and Norwegian girl choir, Nidaros Jentekor, perform Christmas music, gospel spirituals and beloved hymns.

9 pm Major Crimes (TNT) | Jon Tenney returns as FBI Agent Fritz Howard, who must work with the Major Crimes Division to find a graduate student’s killer.

10 pm Hollywood Game Night (NBC) | In a special holiday installment, celeb players include Parenthood’s Ray Romano, Hart of Dixie’s Rachel Bilson and Suburgatory’s Cheryl Hines. (Watch a sneak peek.)

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Turbo FAST (Netflix) | Round up the rugrats Turbo FAST Netflixin front of the TV/PC/tablet and enjoy the first five episodes of Netflix’s first original children’s show. Reid Scott (Veep) voices Turbo, the super-powered snail who pursues racing greatness with his pals on the Fast Action Stunt Team.

4 am — 8 pm Law & Order: SVU (USA Network) | Finish your gift-wrapping while Benson and Stabler catch baddies in the background.

6 am — 9 pm Cartoon Network’s 24 Hours of Christmas | The animated marathon includes holiday episodes of Scooby Doo, The Looney Tunes Show and more, resuming on Christmas Day (from 6 am to noon).

6 am — 6 pm Malcolm in the Middle (IFC) | Ah, Bryan Cranston’s pre-Walter White days. A simpler time for all of us.

12 pm — 12 pm Wednesday Elf (Starz) | Enjoy 24 straight hours of Buddy the Elf pouring maple syrup on spaghetti, cramming cookies in the VCR and spreading Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear.

8 pm — 8 pm Wednesday A Christmas A Christmas Story MarathonStory (TBS) | Now in its 17th (!) year, a tradition continues with 24 straight hours of the Christmas classic. Fortunately, Flick getting his tongue stuck to the flagpole is forever funny.

8 pm The 12 Dogs of Christmas (CW) | During the Great Depression, a young girl (Jordan-Claire Green, The School of Rock) uses dogs to teach people the true meaning of Christmas.

8 pm Dads (Fox) | If you missed the freshman comedy’s Christmas episode, catch up with this encore presentation, followed by a repeat of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s holiday outing.

8 pm Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (ABC) | Get a double dose of The Grinch, first with the 1966 animated classic, then with the 2000 feature film starring Jim Carrey.

8 pm — 6 am TV Land’s Merrython Event (TV Land) | Nostalgia alert! This holiday marathon includes Christmas episodes of The Golden Girls, Everybody Loves Raymond, The King of Queens, Roseanne and That ‘70s Show. (The marathon continues on Christmas Day from 9 am to midnight, with episodes of The Nanny, The Andy Griffith Show and others.)

11:35 pm A New York Christmas to Remember (CBS) | Regis Philbin hosts the Christmas special, which will include biblical stories and choral music.

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6 am — 5:30 am Thursday Oy! to the World! YoungFrankensteinA Mel Brooks Christmas Marathon (Sundance) | Like Mel Brooks? Then you’ll love this 24-hour loop of his most acclaimed films. Here’s the order in which they will air: The Producers (2005), The Producers (1968), History of the World, Part I, Young Frankenstein, Robin Hood: Men In Tights. Rinse. Repeat.

7 am — 9 pm The 25th Day of Christmas (ABC Family) | In order, programming will include: Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, The Muppet Christmas Carol, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and all three installments of The Santa Clause trilogy.

9 am — 5 am Syfy’s Christmas Movie Marathon | Though there won’t be an encore of Sharknado, this sci-fi blizzard will include the wintry-themed films Snowmageddon, Ice Quake, Snow Beast and Yeti.

10 am Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade (ABC) | California’s Disneyland and Florida’s Walt Disney World join forces for the 30th annual parade, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) and Nick Cannon (America’s Got Talent).

11:30 am — 12:15 am Thursday A Very Quentin X-Mas (Encore) | If you’re looking for a slightly violent movie marathon, Encore can help you out with this onslaught of Quentin Tarantino: Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill: Vol. 1, and Kill Bill: Vol. 2.

4 pm Ben Hur (Ovation) | The two-part miniseries will be followed by another epic Bible story: 2006’s The Ten Commandments, at 8 pm.

8 pm Kung Fu Panda Holiday (CW) | In this TV short, Po (voiced by Jack Black) is nervous when he is asked to host the annual holiday feast. (Note: Merry Madagascar will air at 8:30, followed by an encore presentation of the One Direction iHeartRadio Album Release Party.)

8 pm Kelly Clarkson’s Cautionary Christmas Music Tale | Did you miss the American Idol champ’s holiday special when it originally aired? Enjoy this encore presentation, followed by a second showing of Michael Buble’s 3rd Annual Christmas Special (and after that, it’s Blake Shelton’s Not So Family Christmas). It’ll be more Christmas carols than you can possibly handle.

8 pm Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas (Fox) | Sid, Crash, Eddie and Peaches head to the North Pole to explain themselves to Santa Claus when Sid believes he is on the naughty list.doctor-who-time-of-the-doctor

9 pm Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor (BBC America) | This year’s Doctor Who Christmas special isn’t the only ode to the series that will air on Christmas Day: A six-minute prequel, The Night of the Doctor, will air at 6 pm, followed by an encore of the 50th anniversary special. Then, a retrospective Farewell to Matt Smith will air at 8 pm, leading up to The Time of the Doctor at 9 pm.

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6 am — 2 am NCIS (USA) | Rule 25: There will always be an NCIS marathon during the holidays.

8 am — midnight The Game (BET) | Spend the day after Christmas recovering with Seasons 5 and 6.

9 pm 20/20 (ABC) | Prepare some tea and crumpets for this special presentation, which will look at the world of Downton Abbey from inside the real-life English castle that inspired the series.

10 pm My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding: Luck of the Irish (TLC) | Ever wonder how Irish gypsies celebrate weddings, christenings and St. Patrick’s Day? Now’sBreaking Bad Pilot your chance to find out.

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12 pm — 12:48 am Breaking Bad (AMC) | Have a very meth-y Christmas with a four-day, every-episode-ever Breaking Bad marathon from Dec. 27-30. Episodes begin each day at noon… so keep the Xanax close.

8 pm $ellebrity (Showtime) | Featuring interviews with Jennifer Aniston (Friends), musician Elton John and more, this documentary explores society’s fascination with celebrity.

9 pm Nikita (The CW) | Series finale, Nikita Series Finaletitled “Canceled”: Frustrated that MDK is still active, Nikita decides to end it her way — which may ultimately cost her her soul.

9 pm What We Wasted Our Year On (NBC) | Today’s Willie Geist hosts this NBC News comedy special, which highlights the events that got us talking in 2013.

Which of the above is a must-see for you? Also, hit the comments to offer your own tune-in suggestions.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Justin says:


  2. marty says:

    Technically, it would be rule #52 for NCIS…

  3. You forgot the Doctor Who Marathons Christmas Day and the 26th. :)

  4. Ralph says:

    On December 28, BET has a 10 hour Scandal marathon. I was hoping you could tell me which season it is.

  5. Daniel says:

    Nikita! So sad it’s gonna be the final episode!

  6. Steve says:

    Major Crimes

  7. Lisa says:

    24 Hours of A Christmas Story, Disney Parade and of course the one I am looking forward to the most NIKITA!!!!!!

  8. CJ says:

    Doctor Who and Nikita <3

  9. Martin says:

    LOL at Nikita.

    Best series finale episode title ever.

  10. Jane says:

    It isn’t on this list because it airs Sunday the 29th but there is a Call the Midwife Christmas special. Hopefully they will mention it next week. I like Call the Midwife better than Downton Abbey. I will also be watching Dr. Who.

  11. Dj says:

    Really going to miss Matt Smith.

  12. Lori says:

    Wish I had time to do the Oy to the World Mel Brooks marathon.
    But doesn’t look like I will. :(

  13. Pat says:

    Major Crimes!!!!!!!! So Happy that it is on tonight.

  14. GeoDiva says:

    I miss when USA network use to air the Star Wars trilogy on Christmas Day.

  15. Carla Krae says:

    Nikita! *sobs* Stupid CW.

  16. F*** The Haters / No Lives says:

    NIKITA!!!!! OMG!!!! SAD, EMOTIONS ARE STARTING As we try and prepare for THE CRAZY MINDBLOWING ENDING! and THAT TITLE “Cancelled” AWESOME. So sad, the Series Finale is here :(

    BREAKING BAD!!!!!!!


  17. gia says:

    Yikes! What a dismal list. Good thing I have access to British tv. In addition to Doctor Who, I’m looking forward to the Downton Abbey Christmas special, a new adaptation of Moonfleet (think Treasure Island with smuggling), 2 ghost stories (The 13th Tale and Tracate Middoth), Michael Bournes ballet of Sleeping Beauty (set in the early 20th century and with vampires!), a 3-part Pride and Predjudice sequel Death Comes to Pemberly, and Sherlock on New Year’s Day!!! Add to that there’ll be new episodes of Marple, Call the Midwife, Atlantis, Mad Dogs and more. Now that’s Christmas programming!

  18. barbara says:

    so glad fritz on major crimes hope they keep him

  19. Rich Abey says:

    Whaatt? No ‘Castle’ marathon on TV this year? Looks like I’ll have to take the Castle DVD’s out…