25 Days of Christmas

Freeform's 25 Days of Christmas
Network The Family Channel (1996–97)
Fox Family (1998–2001)
ABC Family (2003–2015)
Freeform (Starting in 2016)
Launched December 1, 1996 (1996-12-01)
Country of origin United States
Formerly known as Fox Family's 25 Days of Christmas (1998–2001)
ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas (2003–2015)
Format Christmas-based films and programming, along with some non-seasonal films
Running time Nightly, annually from December 1 to December 25
Original Language(s) English
Official website Official site

25 Days of Christmas (also known as Freeform's 25 Days of Christmas, previously known as Fox Family's 25 Days of Christmas, and as ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas) is an annual programming block that has been shown on Freeform (formerly ABC Family) and its predecessors since 1996. As the title implies, the special programming is shown every year from December 1 to December 25, showing classic holiday programming (such as Rankin/Bass' classic TV 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 special episodes.

In 2006, the channel aired fewer seasonal films and added general-interest family movies such as Harry Potter, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as well as Disney films including Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. Starting in 2007, ABC Family extended the "25" days into November with a Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas block.


Original specials

Original movies

Every year since the block started in 1996, at least one new holiday-related TV film has been produced (except in 2002). 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.[7]

The Family Channel era

The Family Channel's 25 Days of Christmas

Fox Family era

Fox Family's 25 Days of Christmas

ABC Family/Freeform era

ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas

Freeform's 25 Days Of Christmas

Christmas specials

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, or Christmas-themed episodes of television programs are presently being featured during 25 Days of Christmas (including Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas):

Christmas movies

The following non-original (originally premiered theatrically, or direct to video, or on some other TV network or cable channel) Christmas movies are presently being featured during 25 Days of Christmas (including Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas):

Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas

In 2007, due to popular ratings from the previous year, ABC Family launched the first official countdown to the programming block, which began on November 21. Although this was the first official early start,[7] in previous years holiday programming had unofficially begun during the last week of November, showing mostly older original films, some of which pertained to Christmas and some that did not.[14] "Countdown to the '25 Days of Christmas'" returned in 2008 on November 16.[15]


In 2010, it started later in the month, on November 20.[16] In 2012 the countdown began at an earlier date of November 18.[10]


The Countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas ran again in 2014. In 2014 the countdown event which started on Sunday, November 23 was even with previous years. The highest rated programs of the eight-day event were Finding Nemo at 1.8 million viewers, Despicable Me at 2 million, and an airing of The Hunger Games at 1.7 million. Other highlights included Ratatouille on Thanksgiving night which garnered 1 million, Cars 2 gained 1 million, and Brave which had 1.8 million tune in.[17]


The Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas schedule was released on October 29, 2015. The 2015 lineup includes family classics such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Jingle All the Way, Monsters, Inc., Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and the cable premiere of Disney's Planes. A Monday, November 30 airing of The Polar Express was watched by 1.5 million viewers, the highest rating of this year's Countdown.[18] A Saturday, November 28 airing of Wreck-It Ralph was also watched by 1.5 million viewers.[19] The network premiere of Planes on Thanksgiving night garnered only 0.699 million viewers.[20]


The Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas schedule was released on October 22, 2016. In 2016, Freeform's first Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas will run from Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2016 to December 25, 2016. The 2016 lineup includes family movies such as Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Disney Pixar's Toy Story of Terror, Brave, Tangled, Happy Feet 2, Tooth Fairy, Another Cinderella Story, Mulan, Wreck-it Ralph, Matilda, Little Rascals, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Despicable Me. Freeform also announced the network premiere of The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Boxtrolls, and A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits. The holiday movies in the 2016 Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas included: Fred Claus, The Holiday (Freeform network premiere), Scrooged, Jingle All the Way, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and Deck the Halls.[21]



The network premiere of The Polar Express was watched by more than 4 million viewers.[22] An encore airing on December 9 was watched by a record 5 million viewers. It became the most watched programming to ever air on ABC Family.[23] The debut airing of the film, Santa Baby, was watched by 4.7 million viewers.[24]


The first week of programming averaged 2.3 million viewers.[25]


In 2008, the first week of programming attracted 2.7 million total viewers.[25] The entire lineup had an average 2.5 million viewers.[26][27]


The third annual "Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas" was watched by 1.2 million viewers. The network premiere of The Santa Clause 3 was watched by 1.6 million viewers, while an airing of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was watched by 1.5 million viewers.[28] The premiere of Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe was watched by 3.8 million total viewers.[27]


The fourth annual "Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas" was watched by 2.1 million viewers.[29] The lineup began its first week with record breaking 3 million average viewers.[30] The December 12 premiere of Christmas Cupid was watched by a total of 3.4 million viewers.[31] Total viewers for 2010 broke records, averaging 2.8 million viewers.[32] An airing of How the Grinch Stole Christmas drew 1.3 million viewers.[32]


The first week of the 25 Days of Christmas was watched by an average of 2.2 million viewers, down 27% from last year.[33] During the second week, viewers increased to 2.4 million, thanks to the premiere of 12 Dates of Christmas.[34] However, this was still down 30% from the previous year.[34] Overall viewers for the 2011 lineup averaged 2.3 million viewers.[35]


In 2012, the programming block had its most ever total viewers in its debut week, with 2.9 million.[36] An airing of the film Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas on December 2 became the lineup's most watched program ever, with 5.4 million viewers.[37][38] Other notable airings included, the network premiere of Despicable Me, watched by over 4.3 million viewers,[39] and a Christmas Eve airing of The Santa Clause 2, watched by 3.9 million viewers.[40] The programming block averaged 2.8 million viewers for 2012, on pace with 2010.[38]


In its 17th year, 25 Days of Christmas powered ABC Family as the top cable network in primetime among women 18-34. The entire line-up averaged 2.5 million viewers. A Friday, December 5 airing of Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas was watched by 3.7 million. The network premiere of Toy Story That Time Forgot gained 3.4 million while an airing of the classic Toy Story 3 gained 2.7 million viewers.[41] The highest rated airing of Elf gained 3.5 million viewers while the highest rated airing of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation gained 3.2 million. An airing of the Tim Allen classic The Santa Clause with limited commercials gained 2.9 million viewers.

Christmas Eve ratings on the network saw ratings of The Polar Express at 2.2 million, Home Alone at 2.7 million, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Elf each at more than 4 million each.[42]

The holiday airings of Pretty Little Liars gained 2 million viewers while Chasing Life gained 1.2 million. The comedies of Melissa and Joey and Baby Daddy gained 1 million and 800,000 viewers respectively.[43][43]


In 2015 the highest rated event was an airing of Elf on December 5 at 3.7mil, and another airing on December 24 at 3.1mil. Ratings on Christmas Eve were down on the network due to increased competition from other networks. Elf proved once again to draw large audiences. On December 1 The Polar Express gained 2.4mil, an airing of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas gained 2.4mil, 2.7mil, and 2.9mil on multiple dates. The highest airing of The Santa Clause was December 2 gaining 2.6mil.[44]

An airing of the Toy Story trilogy on December 13–14 gained 2mil, 2.5mil, and 1.4mil. Christmas Eve on the network was National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation at 2.4mil, and Elf at 3.1mil. Christmas Day was weak, averaging less than 2mil per airing.[44]


The 25 Days of Christmas schedule was released in late October by Freeform. While notable absences include Jim Carrey's How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Home Alone, and the second and third Santa Clause films, the schedule still includes many classics. The schedule includes 25 days of classics like, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, The Santa Clause, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Frost, Disney’s A Christmas Carol, The Polar Express, The Holiday, Elf, Jingle All The Way, Scrooged, Deck the Halls, Toy Story, Frozen, and Happy Feet.[45]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 This is not a holiday special, but was shown during the block anyway
  2. This is a Groundhog Day special
  3. This is a New Year's Day special


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  3. 1 2 Pavan -- SitcomsOnline.com (2011-11-02). "2011 ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas Schedule; Fox Picks-Up Full Second Season of Bob's Burgers - SitcomsOnline.com News Blog". Blog.sitcomsonline.com. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
  4. http://www.ibtimes.com/abc-family-25-days-christmas-2013-schedule-full-lineup-released-when-what-watch-1426300/
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  19. http://www.showbuzzdaily.com/articles/showbuzzdailys-top-150-thursday-cable-originals-network-update-11-26-2015.html
  20. http://www.laughingplace.com/w/news/2016/10/21/freeform-announces-2016-countdown-25-days-christmas-programming/
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  23. ""Santa," "Polar" top cable ratings". Reuters UK. 2006-12-13. Retrieved 2012-02-06.
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  25. "ABC Family has record year in 2008". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
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  41. http://www.showbuzzdaily.com/tag/christmas-eve-cable-ratings
  42. 1 2 http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2015/01/05/abc-family-was-the-top-cable-network-in-primetime-among-women-18-34-in-2014/346285/
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  44. http://www.ew.com/article/2016/10/27/freeform-25-days-christmas-schedule

External links

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