It's come to this: Even Frosty has a DVD out. "Frosty the Snowman" (search) is among the cartoons included in the newly released "The Original Television Christmas Classics." (search) So is the TV tradition of packing December with hours of holiday nostalgia over?
Nope. Broadcasters and cable channels still believe in the season's magical power to attract viewers — even the umpteenth showing of "It's a Charlie Brown Christmas" (search) and with commercials.
While tradition is pre-eminent, there are a few twists to be found. Case in point: "A Very Queer Eye Christmas," (search) on Bravo Dec. 7, in which the plucky makeover men play Santa's helpers for the holiday challenged.
"A Christmas Carol," (search) a musical version of Dickens' tale of a second chance at life, wins instant-TV classic status. Repeating on NBC Dec. 24 after its November debut, the handsome production stars Kelsey Grammer as a worthy Scrooge.
Among the highlights (all times EST; check local listings for encore airings):
_ "Frosty the Snowman," 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, CBS. Once just a snowman, now a legend. Jimmy Durante provided the narration, with the voices of Jackie Vernon as Frosty and Billy De Wolfe as the professor.
_ "Cartoon Alley," 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, TCM. The series debuts with holiday-themed "Peace on Earth" (1939), a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and 1941's Tom and Jerry short "The Night Before Christmas."
_ "A Charlie Brown Christmas," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7, ABC. Charlie looks tries to find the spirit of Christmas in a haze of materialism in the digitally remastered 1965 special.
_ "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9, WB. Grandma is missing and Jake sets out to find her and prove Santa exists in a special based on the unlikely hit song.
_ "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," (search) 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, WB. Bitter old Grinch robs Whoville of the holiday in this 1966 adaptation of the Seuss classic. Boris Karloff is the Grinch and narrator.
_ "A Scooby-Doo Christmas," 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, WB. A destructive headless horseman deprives the town of Winter Hollow of holiday joy, until Scooby, Shaggy and the gang get involved.
_ "Franklin's Magic Christmas," 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 13, Noggin. When a holiday visit to the grandparents goes wrong for Franklin, he blames kid sister Harriet — then a special sleigh enters the picture.
_ "The Story of Santa Claus," 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, CBS. The voices of Edward Asner, Betty White and Tim Curry are heard in this tale of a toymaker and his wife evicted from their shop by a mean landlord.
_ "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, ABC Family. Jim Carrey takes the larcenous title role in Ron Howard's version of the Dr. Seuss tale about the troubled residents of Whoville.
_ "A Very Married Christmas," 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, CBS. An unhappy husband (Joe Mantegna) gets unexpected help from a volunteer Santa (Charles Durning) who signs him up for mall duty. Jean Smart co-stars.
_ "Naughty Or Nice," 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, ABC. George Lopez stars in "The Wonderful World of Disney" movie about a sports radio shock jock whose life takes a surprising turn after his big change of heart.
_ "Snow," 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, ABC Family. Tom Cavanagh stars in a reinvention of the Santa Claus story, playing a man with both reindeer and romance issues. Ashley Williams co-stars.
_ "Karroll's Christmas," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14, A&E. The ghosts of Christmas visit the wrong guy — greeting card writer Allen Karroll (Tom Everett Scott) in a comic approach to "A Christmas Carol."
_ "Too Cool for Christmas," 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, here! TV. A teenager (Brooke Nevin) finds holiday spirit with Santa (George Hamilton) and her two dads in the gay and lesbian channel's first original program.
_ "The Santa Clause" on "The Wonderful World of Disney," 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 23, ABC. Tim Allen has a close encounter with Mr. Claus and finds himself in a new line of work.
_ "A Christmas Story," (search) 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 24, TBS. The annual 24 hour-marathon of Jean Shepherd's heartwarming and wry tale.
_ "A Christmas Carol," (search) 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24, NBC. A Hallmark Entertainment musical version of Dickens' classic tale stars Kelsey Grammer and features Jason Alexander and Jane Krakowski.
_ "An Italian Christmas with Mario and Giada," 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, Food Channel. Mario Batali and Giada De Laurentiis dig into Italian dishes and traditions in bakeries, restaurants and homes.
_ "Holiday Windows," 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, HGTV. A behind-the-scenes peek as department stores including Macy's, Neiman Marcus and Harrods plan, build and install their holiday windows and displays.
_ "White House Christmas 2004," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7, HGTV. A peek at the Blue Room, State Dining Room and East Room as decorators, artisans and volunteers turn the White House into a holiday wonderland.
_ "A Very Queer Eye Christmas," 10 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7, Bravo. A family's appalling decorations, gift requirements and Christmas cliches bring the "Fab 5" team — Carson, Ted, Thom, Kyan and Jai — to the rescue.
_ "A Clay Aiken Christmas," 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, NBC. Aiken of "American Idol" fame sings traditional carols with guests Barry Manilow, gospel singer Yolanda Adams and actress Megan Mullally.
_ "Entertainment Weekly's Holiday Movies," 10 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, AMC. Actor French Stewart presents a collection of funny and touching holiday movie moments, including infamous "holiday humbugs."
_ "Everyday Elegance Holiday Special with Colin Cowie," 10 p.m. Monday, Dec. 13, WE: Women's Entertainment. Style guru Cowie shows how to organize a meaningful holiday feast for friends and family.
_ "The Christmas Special Christmas Special," 10 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14, Bravo. A study of TV holiday programs, ranging from 1951's reverent "Ahmal and the Night Visitors" to the irreverent "South Park" cartoon of 2000.
_ "Christmas in Washington," 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15, TNT. Phil McGraw ("Dr. Phil") and wife Robin are the hosts of the annual concert, with JoJo, LeAnn Rimes, Ruben Studdard and Vanessa Williams performing.
_ "Jingle Ball Rock '04," 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17, Fox. Holiday-themed performances from pop stars, including Avril Lavigne, who also perform current hits.
_ "Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir," 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24, PBS. Frederica von Stade and Bryn Terfel join the choir for sacred and secular holiday songs and carols from around the world.
_ "A Home for the Holidays," 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 22, CBS. Jamie Foxx hosts a special intended to celebrate and raise awareness of adoption. Ashlee Simpson and Black Eyed Peas were scheduled to perform.
_ "Night of Joy," 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 23, Pax. Christian and gospel music performed by Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, CeCe Winans, Jars of Clay, Jump 5 and others. Kirk Franklin hosts.
AULD LANG SYNE:
_ "Miffy's Happy New Year," 10:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 27, Noggin. A gust of wind threatens a plan by Miffy the bunny and friend Melanie to hold a big party celebrating the new year; can they succeed?
_ "New Year's Eve with Carson Daly," 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, NBC. Performers Duran Duran, Avril Lavigne and Maroon 5 and guests including Donald Trump help Daly welcome in 2005.
_ "Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve 2005" and "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2005," 10 p.m. and 11:35 p.m., respectively, Friday, Dec. 31, ABC. Clark, a really reliable New Year's Eve date, marks his 33rd year on the job.
_ "New Year's Eve Special On Fox," 11 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, Fox. Ryan Seacrest hosts a celebration from New York City, with celebrity interviews and performers at Planet Hollywood.