Merry viewing: TV networks, channels load up on holiday programs

Paul Giamatti, left, is Santa and Vince Vaughn play his older brother and the title character in Fred Claus.
Paul Giamatti, left, is Santa and Vince Vaughn play his older brother and the title character in Fred Claus. Warner Brothers

’Tis the season to start looking out for those TV shows and films that help you get into the holiday spirit. It could be anything from a blockhead learning the real meaning of Christmas in an animated classic to a cooking show with tips for holiday meals.

Keeping up with when and where those programs are airing can be as daunting as finding the right holiday gift for the person who has everything.

As a gift to you, here is a list of the times, dates and channels where some of the more popular holiday shows can be found.

The Santa Claus, 8:45 p.m. Dec. 2, ABC Family: Divorced father takes over for Santa Claus. Tim Allen stars.

Christmas at Rockefeller Center, 8 p.m. Dec. 2, NBC: NBC stars and musical guests attend the 83rd annual tree lighting from Rockefeller Plaza.

Santas in the Barn, 9 p.m. Dec. 2, truTV: Ten Santas compete in an array of over-the-top Christmas-themed challenges.

The Wiz Live! 8 p.m. Dec. 3, NBC: Shanice Williams and an all-star cast star in this stage production based on The Wizard of Oz.

Shrek the Halls, 8:30 p.m. Dec. 3, ABC: The lovable ogre deals with the holidays.

CMA Country Christmas, 9 p.m. Dec. 3, ABC: Jennifer Nettles hosts this holiday special taped at the Grand Ole Opry House.

A Very Murray Christmas, 12:01 a.m. Dec. 4, Netflix: Bill Murray hosts an homage to holiday variety shows.

Disney Channel Fa-La-La-Lidays Celebrates a Radio Disney Family Holiday, 9 p.m. Dec. 4, Disney Channel: Sabrina Carpenter hosts performances by popular Radio Disney artists.

Elf, 9:30 p.m. Dec. 4, ABC Family: An elf travels to New York to meet the father he never knew.

Just in Time for Christmas, 8 p.m. Dec. 5, Hallmark: Christopher Lloyd and William Shatner star in this tale of love and life’s choices.

Merry Kissmas, 9 p.m. Dec. 5, ION: Kayla is torn between two men.

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, 12:30 a.m. Dec. 5, ABC Family: Jack Skellington takes over Christmas.

Ro’s Tasty Treats: Holiday, 5 p.m. Dec. 6, Cooking Channel: YouTube baking sensation Rosanna Pansino rings in the holiday season with treats.

Beverly Hills Christmas, 7 p.m Dec. 6, UP: Dean Cain stars in this tale of a spoiled teen who gets help from a guardian angel.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, 10 p.m. Dec. 6, ABC Family: The Griswold family celebrates the holidays in their special way.

Daniel’s Winter Adventure/Neighborhood Nutcracker, 9:30 a.m. Dec. 7, KET: Daniel and Prince Wednesday face a big scare.

Peg +Cat + Holidays, 10 a.m. Dec. 7, KET: When Albert Einstein invites Peg and Cat over for Hanukkah, he shows them how to make a 2-D piece of paper into a 3-D dreidel.

Love Actually, 1 p.m. Dec. 7, ABC Family: Several love stories play out against a holiday background.

Arthur’s Perfect Christmas, 6 a.m. Dec. 7, KET2: The famous aardvark gives kids a new spin on seasonal traditions.

Odd Squad, 4:30 p.m. Dec. 7, KET: Olive and Otto assist Santa in tracking down his missing reindeer.

The Great Christmas Light Fight, 8 pm. Dec. 7, ABC: Taniya Nayak and Carter Oosterhouse will judge home decorations.

Fred Claus, 7 a.m. Dec. 8, ABC Family: Vince Vaughn plays the misfit son of Santa.

Coat of Many Colors, 9 p.m. Dec. 10, NBC: Special is based on the Dolly Parton song.

Scrooge, 10 p.m. Dec. 11, TCM: Albert Finney stars in this 1970 adaptation.

The Bells of Fraggle Rock, 11:30 a.m. Dec. 12, ABC Family: Gobo thinks a holiday celebration is a waste of time.

Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, 12:15 p.m. Dec. 12, ABC Family: Kermit the Frog narrates the story of Alice Otter and her son.

Disney’s Prep & Landing, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12, ABC Family: The story of an elite unit of elves.

It’s a Wonderful Life, 8 p.m. Dec. 12, NBC: Jimmy Stewart stars in this 1946 film that has become a holiday tradition.

The Flight Before Christmas, 9 p.m. Dec. 12, CBS: Young reindeer has the ambition to be an expert flyer.

Lidia Celebrates America: Home for the Holidays, 2 p.m. Dec. 13, KET: Renowned chef Lidia Bastianich invites six guests with diverse ethnic backgrounds to her holiday table.

A Baby for Christmas, 7 p.m. Dec. 13, UP: This is the third installment in the Chandler family Christmas movies. Malinda Williams stars.

A Christmas Reunion, 9 p.m. Dec. 13, ION: Madison Avenue executive gets an unusual Christmas surprise.

A Home for the Holidays, 9 p.m. Dec. 18, CBS: Special celebrates home and family through stories of adoption.

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown!, 8 p.m. Dec. 19, ABC: Snoopy invites his brother for a visit.

Pitt Bulls & Parolees: Holiday Special, 9 p.m. Dec. 19, Animal Planet: Tia surprises her family with an extraordinary gift.

Meet Me in St. Louis, noon Dec. 20, TCM: This is the 1944 classic film starring Judy Garland.

I Love Lucy Christmas Special, 8 p.m. Dec. 23, CBS: Features two classic episodes of the 1950s series.

How Murray Saved Christmas, 9 p.m. Dec. 23, NBC: Animated story based on Mike Reiss’s best-selling children’s book.

A Christmas Story, 8 p.m. Dec. 24, TBS: This is the start of a marathon of screenings of the 1983 Peter Billingsley film.