Welcome to A Very Holiday TV Talk! Black Friday shopping may be mostly online this year, and you may (or then again, may not) be upset about not getting to sit around the holiday dinner table listening to the sundry political opinions of your relatives, but at least there are a few things from holidays past you can still count on in the chaotic year of 2020: Snoopy’s still gonna make that popcorn/toast/jelly bean/pretzel stick/ice cream sundae dinner on the Thanksgiving table, Hallmark and Lifetime are gonna unspool more Christmas-themed movies than you can possibly watch, and if ugly holiday sweaters are your thang, there will be no lack of TV-themed jumpers (that’s what they call sweaters across the pond) to gift yourself or others… That last bit is a hint about our holiday gift guide for TV fans. Speaking of which…
A Holiday Gift Guide for TV Fans
(Photo by Hasbro)
Again, you may not be able to get together with your loved ones this holiday season, but that’s no excuse for buying them another boring sweater. Buy them a Holiday Armadillo sweater instead (keep reading)!
- Animatronic Baby Yoda ($79.99) and Animated Baby Yoda Ugly Christmas Sweater ($64.95): If carrying around the animatronic toy and accompanying bag isn’t lifelike enough, get your Mandalorian love on with this cool sweater, which features an interactive version of The Child, who moves his adorkable little hand when you squeeze him.
- You’re on My Schitt List Notepad ($10.00): Lay in a supply of these gorgeous notepads from designer Tay Ham, who also offers equally gorgeous and clever notepad, sticker, and greeting card homages to Dolly Parton, Betty White, Leslie Knope, Dwight Schrute, RuPaul, Harry Styles, Lizzo, Snoop Dogg, and the Friends.
- Punky Brewster Mug ($9.99): She’ll be making her reboot comeback soon, so there’s no better time than the present for this present. And make sure to peruse the rest of the website, a true paradise of shopping for pop culture goodies of the current and nostalgia varieties.
- Pop Colors’ TV-Themed Colored Pencils ($14.95): These delightful, TV-themed colored pencil sets are the perfect, clever accompaniment for all those adult coloring books we have all been hoarding along with jigsaw puzzles and sourdough bread-making kits throughout the pandemic. The wonderfully packaged sets come with 12 bright colors in each, with clever names like Blue Sky, Butter Call Saul, and, of course, Jesse Pinkman, and Walter White for the “Coloring Bad” collection; Lorelailac, Paris Yeller, Luke’s Hat, and Coffee in an I.V. for the “Oy With the Colors Already!” (Gilmore Girls) set; and Lannister’s Gold, Red Wedding, Khalee-sea, and Grey Joy for the “Game of Tones” set. Other sets include “Shades of Anatomy” (Grey’s Anatomy), “The One With the Colors” (with “Ross’s Leather Pants” and “How You Bluin?”), “Colors and Recreation” (Parks and Recreation), and “Office Colors” (with “That’s What She Red” and “Scran-tan Strangler”).
- It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Funko Pop! Figurines ($10.99): At last, the Sunny gang – which, with the series’ next season, becomes the longest-running live-action comedy in TV history! – gets the ultimate pop culture respect: Funko versions of Charlie, Dennis, Mac, Sweet Dee, and Frank, in their classic “Nightman Cometh” glory.
- TCM Wine Club ($99.98) and Christmas in the Movies Book ($16.95): For a hundred bucks (which includes shipping), you or your recipient can try out the classic movie cable network’s wine club, which will include 12 bottles, plus a bonus trio, sent right to your doorstep. The movie-themed wines (James Dean, Eartha Kitt, and Jimmy Stewart are the bonus bottles for the current shipment, with teasers of Marx Brothers and Bette Davis bottles to be future offers) include reds, whites, or a mix (you choose), along with suggested movie pairings, You also choose the collections – shipped every three months – you want. We think the perfect pairing for those pairings is another TCM gem: Christmas in the Movies: 30 Classics to Celebrate the Season. The gorgeous book, filled with spectacular full-color photos from the movies and write-ups from author and film historian Jeremy Arnold, won us over with just one of its entries: Die Hard. Absolutely a Christmas movie!
- The Umbrella Academy Game ($25): If you’ve ever wanted to be one of the Hargreeves superhero siblings, here’s your chance with this fun card game that has you play as the family members, with the goal, of course, of thwarting all your villainous enemies, one at a time.
- Friends Slow Cooker ($41.93) and Friends Ugly Christmas Sweater ($54.99): Why would you possibly need a Friends-themed slow cooker? Well, for one, it would come in handy for cooking the meat that goes inside Rachel’s infamous trifle (you remember, the one that Ross claimed tasted like feet). Aside from that, it’s simply one of the most unique Friends goodies we’ve seen, and there are a LOT of Friends goodies out there. Here’s another one: the Holiday Armadillo ugly sweater, a knitted nod to Ross’s special alternative to Santa and good costuming.
- The Office Jigsaw Puzzle ($13.93): A thousand pieces, featuring photos of the cast, and all ready to be assembled while you do your 59th binge-watch of the show on Comedy Central.
- Breaking Bad Monopoly ($39.99): What token will you choose: Heisenberg’s hat, Tio Salamanca’s bell, the RV, the cash barrel, the ill-fated pink teddy bear, or the gas mask, as you try to earn cash with the Community Chest/Heisenberg cards and Chance cards renamed Walter White cards for the opportunity to build your portfolio of houses (renamed Tented Houses) and hotels, which have become SuperLabs in this BB-themed world.
- Cobra Kai Logo Black Fleece Blanket ($49.95) and Cobra Kai Mug ($11.99): The third season premieres on Netflix in January, making this cozy blanket and hot cocoa mug (that’s what we would put in it, anyway) just the thing for anyone on #TeamJohnny. Or #TeamDaniel. But mostly #TeamJohnny.
- Seinfeld Subscription Box ($35.99-39.99): Monthly or quarterly boxes of Seinfeld swag like totes, hats, books, tees, photos, cards, pens, notebooks, mugs, keychains, pins, socks, magnets, pillows, and Fusilli Jerrys? Seinfeld subscription box, where have you been all our fandoms? CultureFly also offers, by the way, boxes for devotees of Friends, The Office, Supernatural, and SpongeBob SquarePants.
- Rick and Morty Plumbus Candle ($7.99): Worth the price just to find out what this common household item from the world of R & M actually smells like.
- Binge Watcher TV Pin ($10.00): This super cute little TV pin is smiling because he is the symbol of that very special superhero, the one who can view entire series in just one week, that superhero known as The Binge Watcher!
A Holiday Viewing Guide for TV Fans
(Photo by Everett Collection)
Hope you haven’t used up all your couch surfing energy (hey, this year, even stretching out in front of a TV feels like a big effort sometimes), because the end of 2020 is filled with specials, movies, and the annual airing of holiday cartoons we’ve been loving our whole lives. Check out our complete 2020 Holiday TV Calendar here, which includes:
- A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Fans were bummed to find out Apple TV+ was the new home of the Peanuts specials, as that meant they’d no longer be shown on network TV, but Apple made two exceptions: the Thanksgiving special is streaming on Apple now, will be available free on the streaming service Nov. 25-27, and will air ad-free on PBS and PBS Kids on Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Christmas special will begin streaming on Apple TV+ on Dec. 4, with a free window for non-subscribers Dec. 11-13, and an ad-free airing on PBS and PBS Kids Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
- Chris Hardwick is joined by The Walking Dead cast members for the show’s first ever holiday special, premiering Dec. 13 on AMC+.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will air on Dec. 1 on CBS, making the beloved special’s 56th consecutive airing on the network. Hooray for Hermey the dentist and Yukon Cornelius!
- The CW premieres the Greatest Holiday Commercials Countdown 2020 special on Dec. 9. Hosted by Kevin Frasier and Keltie Knight from Entertainment Tonight, the special will count down the 12 best holiday commercials ever. Any guesses about what will make the cut? This one’s gotta be on the list, right?
- The CW is also bringing us the Dogs of the Year special on Dec. 17, recalling the 10 best dog stories of the year, i.e. just 10 reasons why we don’t deserve them.
- Netflix presents interviews with cast and behind-the-scenes footage to do deep dives into two holiday movie classics – Elf and The Nightmare Before Christmas – in The Holiday Movies That Made Us, premiering on the streaming service on Dec. 1.
A Collection of Very Diva Holiday Concerts
(Photo by Apple TV+)
Dolly Parton, Mariah Carey, and Carrie Underwood are premiering new Christmas specials this year, all spun off from their new Christmas album releases.
Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special is her first special for Apple TV+, with a narrative that finds Carey helping Santa with a crisis at the North Pole, which involves musical performances, animation, and help from famous friends like Tiffany Haddish, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg, Billy Eichner, Ariana Grande, and Carey’s twins, Monroe and Moroccan. A companion soundtrack album will be released exclusively on Apple Music the day the special premieres, Dec. 4.
My Gift: A Christmas Special From Carrie Underwood begins streaming on HBO Max on Dec. 3, in support of the singer’s first full-length Christmas album, My Gift. Underwood, accompanied by her band, as well as a live orchestra and choir, duets with John Legend, singing “Hallelujah,” an original song he co-wrote. And viewers will get an inside look behind the scenes of Underwood recording “Little Drummer Boy” with her five-year-old son Isaiah.
Meanwhile, Dolly Parton stars in the CBS special A Holly Dolly Christmas (Dec. 6), an intimate concert with the legend sharing personal stories about the holiday season and performing songs from her new album, A Holly Dolly Christmas.
Bonus Dolly: she stars in and wrote the music and lyrics for Netflix’s Scrooge-y new movie Christmas on the Square. Christine Baranski stars as Regina Fuller, a wealthy woman who plans to evict a whole town of people from their homes before Christmas, until she meets the charming folks. Debbie Allen directs and choreographs the movie, which also stars Jenifer Lewis and Treat Williams.
Curl Up With More Hallmark and Lifetime Holiday Movies
(Photo by Lifetime)
None of us can resist them, no matter how cliched the plots, how silly the dialogue, how obviously designed to give us major cases of the feels during an already emotionally fraught season (and that’s in regular, Before Times years). We’re talking about those irresistible made-for-TV holiday movies on Hallmark and Lifetime, with their settings filled with small-town charm, stories filled with meet-cutes, and casts filled with people we’ve been watching elsewhere on TV for years.
Our holiday TV calendar has the highlights of this year’s lineups for the cable networks, but we’ll just tease a few of the titles and stars that await you at the Hallmark Channel and Lifetime:
Merry Liddle Christmas Wedding; Love, Lights, Hanukkah!; Christmas Comes Twice; A Christmas Tree Grows in Colorado; Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas; Good Morning Christmas; Christmas She Wrote; USS Christmas; If I Only Had Christmas; Meet Me at Christmas; Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater; Jingle Bell Bride; Inn Love by Christmas; The Santa Squad; Feliz NaviDAD; and The Christmas Yule Blog.
And those stars: Jason Priestley, Mario Lopez, Patrick Duffy, Tamera Mowry-Housley, Aaron Tveit, Chad Michael Murray, Kyla Pratt, Holly Robinson Peete, Vanessa Lachey, Melissa Joan Hart, Alicia Witt, Luke Macfarlane, Cheryl Ladd, Amber Stevens West, Beverley Mitchell, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Lacey Chabert, Rachael Leigh Cook, Candace Cameron Bure, Ryan McPartlin, Marisol Nichols, Treat Williams, Sharon Lawrence, Jonathan Bennett, Alison Sweeney, Marc Blucas, Trevor Donovan, Dylan Neal, and Danica McKellar, to name more than a few.
A Very Wonder Woman, Er Women, Christmas
(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)
Warner Bros. has decided to release Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max Christmas Day, and without charging subscribers a bit more to see the sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot returns as the titular heroine, directed by Patty Jenkins, with co-stars Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, and Connie Nielsen – yay!
Another super star on HBO Max this holiday season: Melissa McCarthy in the movie Superintelligence, a comedy about the world’s first superintelligence (voiced by James Corden), which is studying the world’s most average woman (McCarthy) to decide if humanity is worth saving. The movie is directed by Ben Falcone (McCarthy’s husband), who also stars, along with Brian Tyree Henry, Jean Smart, and Bobby Cannavale. Premieres Nov. 26.
Meanwhile, Harley Quinn and The Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco’s murder mystery dark comedy series The Flight Attendant premieres on HBO Max on Nov. 26; ‘90s faves Elizabeth Berkley, Tiffani Thiessen, and Lark Voorhies return to TV in Peacock’s charming Saved by the Bell reboot (Nov. 25); and Kristen Stewart stars in the Clea DuVall-directed romantic comedy Happiest Season, which debuts on Hulu on Nov. 26. Stewart’s Abby plans to propose to girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis) at Harper’s family’s holiday celebration, only to learn Harper has yet to come out to her parents. The all-star cast also includes Mary Steenburgen, Dan Levy, Victor Garber, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Ana Gasteyer, Lauren Lapkus, Jake McDorman, and Timothy Simons.
And, in case you need a palate cleanser in between all that holiday-themed scripted fun, here’s a video of pure, joyful “reality” from a snowball fight … in 1897. Just trust us and watch.