25 Days of Christmas

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25 Days of Christmas
Freeform's 25 Days Of Christmas logo.svg
NetworkThe Family Channel (1996–1997)
Fox Family (1998–2000)
ABC Family (2001–2015)
Freeform (2016–present)
Disney Channel (2017–2018)
Disney XD (2017–2018)
Disney Junior (2017–2018)
ABC (2017–2018)
LaunchedDecember 1, 1996; 25 years ago (1996-12-01)
Country of originUnited States
Formerly known asThe Family Channel's 25 Days of Christmas (1996-1997)
Fox Family's 25 Days of Christmas (1998–2000)
ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas (2001–2015)
FormatChristmas-based films and programming, along with some non-seasonal films
Running timeDaily and nightly, annually from December 1 to December 25
Original language(s)English
Official websiteOfficial site

25 Days of Christmas is an American annual seasonal event of Christmas programming broadcast during the month of December by the U.S. cable network Freeform. The event was first held in 1996, and has been an annual fixture of the channel through its various incarnations, including The Family Channel, Fox Family, ABC Family, and Freeform. The brand covers airings of classic holiday specials as well as new Christmas-themed television movies each year; generally few of the network's original series air during the time period, outside of Christmas-themed episodes. In 2006, the lineup has also included airings of general, family films that Freeform holds rights to, which included the Harry Potter films until January 2017, and other Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures films. In 2007, the block was extended to November with a Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas block. 25 Days of Christmas programming often attracts major surges in viewership for Freeform, with higher-profile film airings often attracting 3-4 million viewers or more.

For 2017, Disney extended the 25 Days of Christmas branding to holiday programming shown by Freeform's sister properties in the Disney-ABC Television Group, including ABC, Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Disney Junior.[1][2]

For most of the block's run, fourteen specials from the Rankin/Bass Productions library of Christmas specials (excluding the original Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman specials, both of which have aired on CBS since 1972 and 1969 respectively) served as the centerpiece of the 25 Days of Christmas. Freeform lost the rights to twelve of those specials (which included The Year Without a Santa Claus) to AMC in 2017 to serve as the linchpin of its new "Best Christmas Ever" schedule; Freeform still airs Santa Claus is Comin' to Town and The Little Drummer Boy.[3] In May 2019, Freeform announced it had acquired the cable rerun rights to the Rudolph and Frosty specials, reuniting the four pre-1974 Rankin/Bass programs on the same network.[4] CBS will continue to hold the free-to-air rerun rights to both specials.[5] Freeform and ABC also held rights to the Charlie Brown holiday specials until Apple TV+ acquired the exclusive rights to the franchise in 2020[6] (later sublicensing some of the specials to PBS for one-time airings that year).[7]

Programming[edit]

Original specials[edit]

  • 1996 – Home and Family Christmas Special
  • 2001 – Donner
  • 2008 – A Miser Brothers' Christmas
  • 2009 – Gotta Catch Santa Claus,[8] Holly and Hal Moose: Our Uplifting Christmas Adventure[9]
  • 2011 – A Very Pink Christmas[10]
  • 2017 – Disney Parks Presents a Disney Channel Holiday Celebration

Original films[edit]

Nearly every year since 25 Days of Christmas debuted in 1996, at least one new holiday-related TV film has been produced (excluding 2002, 2014, and 2015). Starting in 2005, two TV films have been produced. In 2007, three films were created for the block, due to the popularity of the previous year's films.[11]

The Family Channel era: The Family Channel's 25 Days of Christmas[edit]

Fox Family era: Fox Family's 25 Days of Christmas[edit]

ABC Family era: ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas[edit]

Freeform era: Freeform's 25 Days of Christmas[edit]

Current Christmas specials[edit]

The following non-original (originally premiered direct to video, or on some other TV network or cable channel, or as a theatrical featurette) Christmas specials (including Kickoff to Christmas and airings on other networks that share the "25 Days..." brand) (as of 2021):