Conventional wisdom among television programmers is that nobody is watching on major holidays such as Christmas, and if they are watching, they're probably sick of the holiday hype by the time the day rolls around.
What seems to slip their minds is that many people incorporate TV viewing into their household holiday routines. In fact, they might even be more in the mood for a little Christmas cheer on the tube now that the dust has settled, presents have been opened and dinner consumed.
For those folks, here's a rundown of holiday highlights airing around the dial on Sunday, Dec. 25:
ABC, as usual, airs the annual Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, with Mickey and the gang and assorted celebrity guests marking the holiday with music and spectacle. In the evening, the alphabet net presents a Seussome twosome: the 1966 cartoon and 2000 live-action versions of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
Sister channel ABC Family devotes the entire day and evening to Christmas movies and specials, starting with "Mickey's Christmas Carol" and concluding with "The Polar Express" and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." Also in the lineup are "Frosty's Winter Wonderland," "Rudolph's Shiny New Year," " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" and "The Santa Clause."
Cartoon Network's morning lineup includes holiday-themed tales featuring the Flintstones, Jetsons, Smurfs, Garfield, Chowder and the gang from "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends," concluding with "Tom & Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale."
Disney Channel has an assortment of Christmas-themed episodes of its regular series, including an encore of the "So Random!" episode from earlier this month that featured Justin Bieber performing music from his holiday album.
TBS continues its tradition of airing a 24-hour marathon of the 1983 comedy classic "A Christmas Story." The marathon began on Christmas Eve and continues through the day on Sunday, so fans of the film have plenty of opportunities to catch young Ralphie's (Peter Billingsley) quest to find a Red Ryder BB gun under the tree on Christmas morning.
Hallmark Channel, which has been cranking out the holiday-themed original movies at a prodigious rate this month, has no shortage of material. Its Christmas Day lineup ranges from 1999's "A Season for Miracles," about a little town named Bethlehem where holiday magic happens, to repeat screenings of this season's "Christmas Magic" and "Debbie Macomber's Trading Christmas."
Lifetime does something similar with its library of Christmas-themed TV movies, starting the day with 1995's "A Holiday to Remember," starring Connie Sellecca, Randy Travis and Rue McClanahan, and concluding with this year's "Dear Santa," starring Amy Acker.
Christmas is, of course, a religious holiday, and Turner Classic Movies marks the day by airing films about Christ and Christianity, including the biographical epics "King of Kings" and "The Greatest Story Ever Told," the period drama "Ben-Hur," "The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima," and the 1944 charmer "Going My Way," starring Bing Crosby as a singing priest.
TLC lights up the day with encores of Christmas specials -- most of them devoted to extreme light displays -- and holiday episodes of its regular series, including "Toddlers & Tiaras," "19 Kids and Counting," "DC Cupcakes," and "Cake Boss."
TV Land summons ghosts of Christmas past with holiday-themed episodes of "Roseanne," "The Nanny," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Bewitched," "The Jeffersons," "Good Times," "Three's Company" and more. Bring tissues for the "Andy Griffith Show" episode where Andy and Barney (Don Knotts) throw a Christmas party at the jail for a prisoner's family.
For those who were too busy to watch them when they first aired, Fox repeats this year's Christmas episodes of "The Cleveland Show" and "The Simpsons," along with last year's "American Dad."
While not explicitly Christmas-themed, FX devotes its Sunday to family films -- something of a departure for the cable home of such adult fare as "American Horror Story" and "Sons of Anarchy." Its Christmas Day lineup includes "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," "Alvin and the Chipmunks," and "Kung Fu Panda."
The Christmas episode of "Doctor Who" is a much-anticipated event among fans of the British cult classic series, and BBC America airs this year's edition, set during World War II, on Sunday, followed by an encore of the "Best of the Christmas Specials" episode.
And to all a good night.
Christmas Day offers another chance to see holiday favorites
"Mickey's Christmas Carol" airs Sunday on ABC Family.