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 V.20 No.51 | December 22 - 28, 2011 
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Idiot Box

Angels We Have Heard on HDTV

Christmas Eve around the dial

Stuck home alone over the holidays like Macaulay Culkin in that movie Home Alone? Fill in the long, lonely hours that make up Christmas Eve with your good friend, television!

Movies are fine holiday fare and require little forethought from lazy network programmers, who can pretty much throw up any feature with the word “Christmas” in the title. Hallmark, the network that will buy any movie script in creation so long as it centers around a federal holiday, has got a smorgasbord for you. Start bright and early with Annie Claus Is Coming to Town (Hallmark 12 p.m.). Stick around for Fallen Angel (Hallmark 4 p.m.), The Christmas Card (Hallmark 6 p.m.) and November Christmas (Hallmark 8 p.m.). Stay up late for The Ultimate Gift (Hallmark 10 p.m.) and The Christmas Pageant (Hallmark 12 a.m.) Or ignore them. They’re all pretty terrible.

Turner Broadcasting, meanwhile, kicks off its annual 24 Hours of A Christmas Story (TBS 6 p.m.), giving you roughly a dozen chances to see the film for the 53rd time. Other Hollywood classics being aired today include 1947’s Miracle on 34th Street (TCM 6 p.m.), 1946’s It’s a Wonderful Life (KOB-4 7 p.m.) and 1965’s The Sound of Music (KOAT-7 6 p.m.)—notable because it can be jammed comfortably into any holiday slot. (Trust me, it’ll be back for Easter.)

If you’re in the mood for Christmas specials, you can go stop-motion with “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year” (ABC Family 4 p.m.), “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” (ABC Family 5 p.m.) and “The Year Without a Santa Claus” (ABC Family 6 p.m.). You can go decorative with “Crazy Christmas Lights” (TLC 4 p.m.), “More Crazy Christmas Lights” (TLC 5 p.m.) and “My Big Fat Gypsy Christmas” (TLC 6 p.m.). You can go explorative with “Christmas to the Extreme” (Travel 7 p.m.), “Most Christmasy Places in America” (Travel 7 p.m.) and “Crazy for Christmas” (Travel 9 p.m.). Or you can go nerdy as all get-out with “Doctor Who: Best of the Christmas Specials” (BBC America 7 p.m.) and “The Nerdist: The Year in Review” (BBC America 8 p.m.). If you’re in an investigative mood, there’s “The Best of Larry Barker: Top Stories of 2011” (KASA-2 9 p.m.). Like Rudolph’s nose, Larry’s mustache has magical properties.

When you’re up late, drowning your sorrows with wassail-in-a-can and leftover pecan pie, there are plenty of midnight masses to choose from. Perhaps God’s favor will shine down upon you and He’ll grant you a better cable package. Start with “Christmas Mass: Come All Ye Faithful” (KOAT-7 10:35 p.m.), which broadcasts live from Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent Chapel in Buffalo, N.Y. If you’re feeling more Episcopal, “Christmas in Chelsea Square” (KRQE-13 10:35 p.m.) features scripture readings, choral works and musical performances from the Chapel of the Good Shepherd in New York. Evangelical shut-ins are advised to head toward the “Calvary Chapel Christmas Special” (KASY-12 11 p.m.), while straight-up Catholics would do well with “Christmas Eve Mass” (KOB-4 11:30 p.m.). That one’s coming to you live and direct from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

After that, you should probably just go to bed. Santa will be showing up shortly after midnight, and you’ve got to do this whole holiday thing again tomorrow.

 

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