7 holiday TV specials you won’t want to miss

It’s that time of year when the small screen is filled with special holiday TV programming. There are so many classic titles like “Frosty the Snowman” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and then some exciting new entrants as well (including one that all the teen girls are excited about). Yes, I’m talking about One Direction. Here are some of our top picks for holiday movies and shows that you won’t want to miss in the next few weeks. Set your DVRs, pop some popcorn and let your kids snuggle on the couch with these shows. For a full  listing of holiday programming, check out TV Guide’s 2014 Holiday Programming.

Toy Story That Time Forgot on ABC. Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. CT.

The gang is all back together in this new holiday show that you won’t want to miss. In this special, the toys are left in an unfamiliar spot and come face to face with some crazy action figures. In order for Woody and Buzz Lightyear to make it back to Barbara’s room,  they’ll need to follow Trixie.

Peter Pan Live on NBC. Thursday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. CT.

Possibly the most anticipated holiday special of the year. At least in our house!  Following in the footsteps of the amazing success of last year’s Sound of Music Live, NBC is once again putting on a holiday extravaganza. On Thursday, Peter Pan will fly into our living rooms for a whole night of family fun. This is one of the most beloved stories of all time, and I can’t wait to share this retelling with my kids. NBC has a great website with some fun teaser videos and activities to do with the kids in advance of the movie.

How Murray Saved Christmas on NBC. Friday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. CT.

This has all the makings of being one of the funnier holiday specials. This one hour animated holiday musical special premieres on Friday and includes the voices of Sean Hayes, Jason Alexander and Jerry Stiller, among others. The story tells the tale of Murray Weiner, a cranky deli owner, who reluctantly agrees to fill in for Santa for one Christmas, and does a surprisingly good job, despite smelling like pickles. The hilarious story is based on the best selling book of the same name, which was written by Mike Reiss from The Simpsons, and who also happens to be producing this special.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on CBS: Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. CT.

One of the country’s longest running holiday specials, and one that my kids look forward to every year. A reindeer with a bright shiny red nose is excluded by the others because he’s different, until one foggy Christmas eve when Santa needs his light.

Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas on NBC. Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. CT.

Based on the hit film and the Broadway musical, this new one-hour stop motion animated special will delight the whole family. In this version, Santa narrates the story of Buddy’s travels to The Big Apple to find the father he never knew. Along the way, Buddy’s irresistible holiday spirit will charm everyone he comes across. Viewers can expect to hear nine songs in this show that will surely put a smile on every family member’s face.

Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas on PBS.  Multiple airings on December 17, 22 & 25 at 3 p.m. CT.

Kids will love to count down the holidays with George and The Man with the Yellow Hat. In this charming episode (that premiered last year) the two friends wrestle with what to get each other for the holidays. Their charming predicament is resolved beautifully in the end.

One Direction: The TV Special on NBC. Tuesday, Dec. 23 at 7 p.m. CT.

Fans of the British heartthrobs are in for a treat, as 1D gets their first ever U.S. special. No word yet on whether the boys will be singing holiday tunes while wearing festive sweaters, but rest assured, there will be performances and interviews.

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