Holiday TV Cartoon Schedule

You can't hit the remote without watching a holiday TV cartoon during December. Here's your guide to the best Christmas cartoons and animated holiday specials for 2015.

November 29

Scrat - Ice Age - A Mammoth Christmas
Scrat - Ice Age - A Mammoth Christmas. FOX

Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas / 8:30 p.m. / FOX

Ray Romano and Queen Latifah reprise their roles as wooly mammoths in . Peaches, their daughter, gets into trouble when she tries to recreate the perfect holiday.

November 30

David Benoit Trio on 'It's Your 50th Charlie Brown'
David Benoit Trio on 'It's Your 50th Charlie Brown'. ABC

It's Your 50th Charlie Brown / 8:00 p.m. / ABC

Kristen Bell, Kristin Chenoweth, Sarah McLachlan and lots of other talented people since Vince Guaraldi's tunes and talk about the history behind Charles Schulz's Peanuts and the first cartoon special, A Charlie Brown Christmas.

November 30

A Charlie Brown Christmas / ABC
A Charlie Brown Christmas / ABC. A Charlie Brown Christmas / ABC

A Charlie Brown Christmas / 9:00 p.m. / ABC

No holiday season is complete without watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. Generations have been discovering the magic of this classic cartoon since it first aired as a Coca-Cola special in 1965. A Charlie Brown Christmas remains one of the few Christmas cartoons that's about the birth of Jesus Christ, rather than Santa Claus or other secular topics.

December 1

Rudolph and Hermy - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph and Hermy. Videocraft International Productions

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer / 8:00 p.m. / CBS

In , a Rankin/Bass classic, Rudolph is taunted by the other reindeer when his flying skills are less than impressive. But when they discover his nose glows red, his humiliation is complete. He goes on a depressing journey until his unique talent is needed by Santa.

December 2

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas / 9:00 p.m. / NBC

The 1966 special, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, is a timeless holiday classic. It tells the tale of the Grinch, who attempts to destroy Christmas for the Whos by stealing their gifts. However, he learns that Christmas means something more.

December 3

Toy Story That Time Forgot / ABC / Disney
Toy Story That Time Forgot / ABC / Disney. Toy Story That Time Forgot / ABC / Disney

Toy Story That Time Forgot / 8:00 p.m. / ABC

Here's a Pixar cartoon special that is loosely related to Christmas. In Toy Story That Time Forgot, during a post-Christmas play date, Buzz, Woody and all our favorite toys find out that the coolest set of action figures ever are actually dangerously delusional. Relative newcomer Trixie guides the group back to the safety of Bonnie's room. Toy Story That Time Forgot will air again on December 23.

See also: Kristen Schaal (Trixie) Talks Toy Story and Bob's Burgers

December 3

Shrek the Halls / DreamWorks Animation / ABC
Shrek the Halls / DreamWorks Animation / ABC. Shrek the Halls / DreamWorks Animation / ABC

Shrek the Halls / 8:30 p.m. / ABC

It's Christmas Eve and everyone is full of holiday cheer. As usual, Shrek wants to keep things quiet and enjoy time with his new family. But Donkey, Puss in Boots and his other friends have a completely different Christmas in mind.

December 4

'Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town'
'Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town'. RANKIN/BASS PRODUCTIONS/ABC

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town / 6:00 p.m. / ABC Family

Have you noticed that Christmas cartoons from the '60s have a vein of sadness running through their stories? I've noticed that Rankin/Bass stop-motion animation Christmas cartoons especially tell a tragic tale before wrapping up with a happy ending.

For instance, in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Rudolph is shunned not only by his peers, but also by his own father! He faces life-threatening circumstances as he wanders the artic. The Little Drummer Boyis supposed to be a tale of selflessness, but even as a child I could hardly keep from crying about how poor and lonely that child was. (I can't help but think if that story were animated today he would be pluckier and, regardless of income, still have a cellphone tucked away somewhere.)

Hard times are certainly part of Santa's origin story in Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town. As the story is told by narrator S.D. Kluger (Fred Astaire), Santa Claus (Mickey Rooney) is abandoned as a baby. Sure, later he's christened Kris Kringle and marries Jessica (Robie Lester). But he's abandoned as a baby! Not to mention how he must square off against Burgermeister (Paul Frees) and Winter Warlock (Keenan Wynn).

December 12

The Flight Before Christmas / CBS
The Flight Before Christmas / CBS. The Flight Before Christmas / CBS

The Flight Before Christmas / 9:00 p.m. / CBS

Niko, a young reindeer, yearns to fly just like his Dad. Following an attack by wolves on his herd's peaceful home, he heads off on a desperate, dangerous mission through icy blizzards and across wild terrain to find his father. He discovers a devious plan to destroy and replace the famous flying squadron by the evil Black Wolf and his gang.

On his heroic journey to find his father and save Christmas, Niko is accompanied by his constant friend and surrogate father Julius, a clumsy squirrel who has nurtured and indulged the boy's dream. Julius knows he has to persuade Niko to return home to the safety of the herd, but much to his annoyance they are then joined by Wilma, a sassy young singing weasel who actually knows the way to Santa's home.

As the brave trio encounters challenges on their hazardous journey, Niko faces the biggest one when he must choose between the life he has dreamed about and a life with his family.

The Flight Before Christmas features the voices of Emma Roberts (Nancy Drew) and comedian Norm MacDonald (Saturday Night Live).

December 15

Toy Story That Time Forgot / ABC / Disney
Toy Story That Time Forgot / ABC / Disney. Toy Story That Time Forgot / ABC / Disney

Toy Story that Time Forgot / 8:00 p.m. / ABC

Repeat

December 15

Shrek the Halls / DreamWorks Animation / ABC
Shrek the Halls / DreamWorks Animation / ABC. Shrek the Halls / DreamWorks Animation / ABC

Shrek the Halls / 8:30 p.m. / ABC

Repeat

December 17

Disney's Prep & Landing / ABC
Disney's Prep & Landing / ABC. Disney's Prep & Landing / ABC

Disney's Prep & Landing / 8:00 p.m. / ABC

 reveals the never-before-told tale of an elite unit of Elves, well, Prep and Landing. Although this cartoon isn't decades old, it become a classic the instant it premiered. Every Christmas Eve this high-tech organization ensures that Santa’s visits run as smoothly as possible.

December 17

Prep & Landing - Naughty vs. Nice
Prep & Landing - Naughty vs. Nice. DISNEY

Disney's Prep & Landing 2: Naughty vs. Nice / 8:30 p.m. / ABC

Originally aired in 2011. Wayne has to call upon his bombastic brother to help keep Santa's tech out of the hands  of a naughty boy. Rob Riggle was nominated for an Emmy award for his performance as Noel.

December 18

Yes, Virginia
Yes, Virginia. CBS

Yes, Virginia / 8:30 p.m. / ABC

is based on the 1897 true story of Virginia O’Hanlon, an 8-year-old girl who inspired the most famous newspaper editorial of all time by asking, “Is there a Santa Claus?”

December 19

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown! / ABC
I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown! / ABC. I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown! / ABC

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown! / 8:00 p.m. / ABC

Linus and Lucy have a little brother named ReRun. ReRun discovers Snoopy has a brother named Spike who lives in the desert, and he makes it his mission to have Spike become his own dog. I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown! was produced by Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez, who produced A Charlie Brown Christmas, so this cartoon has that same heartfelt message and wonderful storytelling.

December 24

David Benoit Trio on 'It's Your 50th Charlie Brown'
David Benoit Trio on 'It's Your 50th Charlie Brown'. ABC

It's Your 50th Charlie Brown / 8:00 p.m. / ABC

Repeat

December 24

Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol
Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. ABC

Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol / 8:00 p.m. / CW

This animated musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ beloved Christmas ghost story stars the nearsighted Mr. Magoo as Ebenezer Scrooge. Featuring the voice of Jim Backus as Magoo, with voice-over appearances by Paul Frees, Morey Amsterdam, Joan Gardner, and Jack Cassidy, this 1962 special was the first animated holiday program ever produced for television. The special was directed by Abe Levitow, with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Bob Merrill.

December 24

A Charlie Brown Christmas / ABC
A Charlie Brown Christmas / ABC. A Charlie Brown Christmas / ABC

A Charlie Brown Christmas / 9:00 p.m. / ABC

Repeat

December 28

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown
Happy New Year, Charlie Brown. ABC

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown / 8:00 p.m. / ABC

In Happy New Year, Charlie Brown, our favorite blockhead tries to read Tolstoy's War and Peace, but winds up dragging his book to the Peanuts gang's New Year's Eve party. There, he works up the nerve to ask the little red-haired girl to dance. This special is followed up by She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown, when Peppermint Patty competes, and Woodstock saves the day.

December 28

Baby New Year
Rudolph's Shiny New Year. ABC

Rudolph's Shiny New Year / 9:00 p.m. / ABC

It’s Rudolph to the rescue when Happy, the Baby New Year, goes missing, in Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, the classic Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated holiday special. Red Skelton narrates and voices Father Time, while Frank Gorshin and Morey Amsterdam also provide voices for characters. Father Time (voiced by narrator Red Skelton) asks the most famous reindeer of all, Rudolph, to find the next Baby New Year before midnight on New Year’s Eve.