There are numerous big decisions to be made during the holidays, from gift selections to menu creations. We can't help you there, but we can offer advice on television programming.
This year's holiday lineup features a new take on an old favorite with a live presentation of "A Christmas Story" on Fox. Ever since the 1983 film based on the novel by Jean Shepherd showed us all the dangers of owning a Red Ryder BB gun, it has aired in reruns every Christmas. "A Christmas Story Live!," scheduled to be broadcast at 6 p.m. Dec. 17, is inspired by the film and the Tony-winning Broadway production.
Executive producer Marc Platt made the leap from making musical films ("La La Land") and musicals on Broadway ("Wicked") to his first taste of live television with "Grease: Live." He's certain "A Christmas Story" has been so popular because it broke the mold for traditional holiday productions.
"For years our Christmas movies were sentimental, and they were sort of cozy and warm, and here came this movie that wasn't that. It was subversive and funny and sort of recognizable that all the family experiences each one of us have," Platt says. "We could relate to it. And so in taking it from the stage to the live television event, we're going to first and foremost deliver the humor and the comedy of the movie as it's represented onstage.
" 'A Christmas Story' is going to be a Christmas family event. We will wink with the audience. We will play tricks with you on how we accomplish it. And you will always know that you are in a film, because it will be very cinematic. But we'll always pull back and go, oh, my gosh. This is actually happening live before our eyes."
As for the original film, TBS will run it continuously on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
A few other highlights:
"Coming Home for Christmas," 7 p.m. Nov. 18, Hallmark Channel: House manager of a country estate finds love during a holiday event. Danica McKellar stars.
"The Christmas Train," 7 p.m. Nov. 25, Hallmark Channel: Journalist goes on a cross-country train ride at Christmas. Dermot Mulroney stars.
"CMA Country Christmas," 7 p.m. Nov. 27, ABC: Reba McEntire hosts the eighth annual event from Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House.
"Angry Angel," 8 p.m. Nov. 27, Freeform: A young woman (Brenda Song) has been turned into an angel but is stuck on Earth.
"A Very Pentatonix Christmas," 9 p.m. Nov. 27, NBC: Jennifer Hudson and Jay Leno are the special guests.
"Christmas in Rockefeller Center," 7 p.m. Nov. 29, NBC: The evening includes performances by Brett Eldridge, Jennifer Nettles, Leslie Odom Jr., Pentatonix, Gwen Stefani and The Tenors.
"Eloise at Christmastime," 6:30 a.m. Dec. 1, Freeform: Eloise (Sofia Vassilieva) is warned not to interfere as the Plaza Hotel prepares for a romantic Christmas Eve wedding.
"The Great Christmas Light Fight," 7 p.m. Dec. 4, ABC: This is the fifth season of the competition show that looks at the most spectacular and over-the-top Christmas displays in America.
"Shrek the Halls," 7 p.m. Dec. 7, ABC: Shrek doesn't have the holiday spirit, but for the sake of Fiona and the kids, he tries to get into the spirit of things as only an ogre can.
"Christmas With the Kranks," 10:55 p.m. Dec. 16, Freeform: A decision to skip Christmas changes when a couple's daughter decides at the last minute to come home for the holiday. Tim Allen stars.