The majority of Americans spend Christmas Eve with family—trimming the tree, roasting some large dead bird and hanging the stockings by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicholas soon will be there. The rest of us just fritter it away at a dive bar drowning our seasonal depression in cheap whiskey and Hank Williams songs. Either way, nobody’s watching a lot of TV. But if you feel the need to turn to your old friend the Idiot Box this Dec. 24, here’s what you can expect to find.
White Christmas (AMC 7 a.m.) AMC staff puts on a 24-hour loop of Bing Crosby’s 1954 classic, shuts off the lights and goes home for the holidays.
The Santa Clause / The Santa Clause 2 / The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (Disney 5/6:50/8:45 p.m.) Disney gives you a heaping helping of Tim Allen.
Christmas With the Kranks (FX 5:30 p.m.) Of course, if that’s not enough Tim Allen for you, FX dredges up some more.
A Christmas Story (TBS 6 p.m.) TBS lets loose with its traditional 24-hour marathon of holiday goodness.
It’s a Wonderful Life (KOB-4 7 p.m.) It is. It’s also a cheap and easy programming decision for Christmas Eve.
BBC America ignores all that stuffy, Victorian A Christmas Carol crap and delivers a bunch of seasonal sitcom specials, including “The Catherine Tate Show Christmas Special 2” (BBC America 7 p.m.), “Absolutely Fabulous Christmas Special” (BBC America 7:30 p.m.), “Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special” (BBC America 8 p.m.) and “Are you Being Served? Christmas Crackers” (BBC America 9 p.m.).
PBS, meanwhile, lets us choose our music specials. If you like the holidays country-style, there’s “Faith Hill, Joy to the World: A Soundstage Special Event” (KNME-5 7 p.m.) If, on the other hand, you prefer them with more of an LDS bent, there’s “Christmas With the Mormon Tabernacle Choir” (KNME-5 8 p.m.) Why not throw these berobed kids a bone? Christmas Eve is the one time of the year people other than Mormons actually listen to them.
MyNetworkTV rebroadcasts the “2009 Hollywood Christmas Parade” (KASY-50 7 p.m.) from Thanksgiving. Susan Lucci is the Grand Marshal. Musical guests include Jon Secada, Five for Fighting and Devon Werkheiser. ... Yeah, Hollywood didn’t dig very deep for this one.
Travel Channel tries its best to get you in the extreme Christmasy magic mood with “Most Christmasy Places in America” (Travel 7 p.m.), “Christmas to the Extreme” (Travel 8 p.m.) and “Disney Holiday Magic With Samantha Brown” (Travel 9 p.m.)
Finally, History Channel offers up “Pawn Stars: A Christmas Special” (History 8 p.m.). Because, really, what says Christmas more than hocking your family heirlooms to buy a Zhu Zhu Pet?