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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas -- a time of peace, love and television

Right about the time you get sick of your family or drunk on egg nog -- or, heck, both -- is probably the best time to park yourself in front of the boob tube and indulge in a little miracle we call television.

Here's a guide to some of the lovely holiday-themed programming you can use as an excuse to slip away from the fam for a few blessed solitary hours, or, if you actually like them, make it a family event.

Tonight, Dec. 24

A Christmas Story -- TBS will air its 24-hour marathon of this heartwarming tale about young Ralphie and his quest for his Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Watch it, or you'll shoot your eye out. Runs for 24 hours from 7 p.m. tonight on TBS.

It's a Wonderful Life -- Even the Scroogiest among us can adore this classic story of holiday spirit and redemption. Watch Jimmy Stewart at his everyday-hero best and let's all hope we have guardian angels like Clarence watching over us. 7 p.m. on NBC

White Christmas -- Though the movie starts off in Europe during World War II and follows Army buddies played by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in their post-war life as musical producers, it culminates in the holiday season with these simple, but prolific words: "May your days be merry and bright; and may all your Christmases be white." 7 p.m. on AMC with repeats until midnight.

Meet Me In St. Louis -- DVR this Judy Garland classic tonight and watch it tomorrow. Often overlooked in the holiday movie pantheon, the story of a turn-of-the-century family in St. Louis who has to leave their hometown is nostalgic without being schmaltzy. True, it's a musical, but listening to Garland sing the original version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is enough to grow your heart three sizes. Midnight on Turner Classic Movies.

Christmas Day, Dec. 25

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation -- Hang out with the Griswolds. It'll make you feel better about your own family. Just don't let your cat watch the scene with the Christmas tree. Starts at 5:30 a.m. on AMC with repeats throughout the day.

Bad Santa -- Billy Bob Thornton's drunk, foul-mouthed Santa is not exactly the man you imagined in your childhood, but that's exactly why it's refreshing in a line-up of happy-go-lucky holiday fare. Plus, the movie starts off in a bar in Milwaukee. Spike TV will air the movie all day.

Elf -- Will Ferrell's turn as Buddy the elf, a human adopted by Santa Claus, should be ludicrous, but it was actually kind of sweet in this 2003 flick. With an awesome cast -- Zooey Deschanel, James Caan and Bob Newhart, to name a few -- this is one of those new holiday classics that displays a lot of heart. USA Network will show the movie uncut and commercial free at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Variety has a great list of all the other marathons on television tomorrow, in case you want something non-holiday related.

Happy Holidays, everyone, from your friends at Channel Surfing!

-- Malavika Jagannathan,



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