5 Holiday TV Music Specials to Watch in 2023

‘Tis the season—to watch holiday music specials on television. Before December started, the 97th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade kicked off the holiday season with performances by Cher, Chicago, and Jon Batiste, among others, followed by the Christmas in Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting with Kelly Clarkson, Barry Manilow, Darlene Love, and more.

December started with Christmas at Graceland, hosted by Elvis Presley‘s granddaughter, actress Riley Keough, and additional appearances by Dolly Parton, Cher, and Jon Bon Jovi.

Performances were set in various locations in and around Graceland and featured Alanis Morissette, Kane Brown, Lana Del Rey, and The War and Treaty, along with John Legend, who performed a soulful rendition of John Lennon‘s “Happy Christmas (War Is Over),” Lainey Wilson with Presley’s 1957 song “Santa Claus is Back in Town,” and Post Malone‘s electrifying “Devil in Disguise.”

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[RELATED: 5 Christmas Songs That Were Never Written About Christmas]

As the televised festivities continue, here are five more holiday specials airing throughout December and how to watch each.

1. ‘Christmas at the Oprywith Wynonna Judd

Hosted by Wynonna Judd, the two-hour Christmas at the Opry is set directly from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, and will feature performances of classic and modern holiday hits.

Performers include Kelly Clarkson, Brenda Lee, Trace Adkins, Mickey Guyton, Adam Doleac, Breland, Chris Janson, Lauren Alaina, Meghan Patrick, Mitchell Tenpenny, and Chrissy Metz.

The television event will mark Judd’s first appearance on the Opry stage since the inaugural People’s Choice Country Awards, where she received the first Country Champion Award for her activism and philanthropic work.

When: December 7, 8 p.m. ET

How to Watch: NBC (with an encore broadcast on December 20 at 9 p.m. ET); streaming on Peacock on December 8

2. ‘Barry Manilow’s A Very Barry Christmas

A few weeks before Christmas, Barry Manilow will bring some yuletide cheer to the holiday season—from Las Vegas, Nevada. The one-hour Barry Manilow’s A Very Barry Christmas will be filmed at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, where Manilow, 80, has had his long-running residency Manilow: Las Vegas – The Hits Come Home!

Throughout the special, Manilow will perform some of his biggest hits, including “Mandy,” “Copacabana,” “Looks Like We Made It,” and “I Write the Songs” with his 24-piece band, along with some popular holiday staples  “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,” “Feliz Navidad,” and “White Christmas.” 

“I love doing our Christmas show!” said Manilow in a statement. “We get to sing my pop hits and my favorite Christmas songs. It’s a feel-good hour full of music.”

If you can’t catch his special, you can still hear Manilow in festive form on one of his holiday albums, including Because It’s Christmas in 1990 and 2007 release In the Swing of Christmas.

When: December 11, 10 p.m. ET

How to Watch: NBC; streaming on Peacock on December 12

3. ‘CMA Country Christmas’

The CMA Country Christmas has been going strong since 2010. This year, the 14th annual celebration will be hosted by Trisha Yearwood and Amy Grant and filmed in front of a live audience in Nashville.

This year, performers include Lainey Wilson, Lady A, the War and Treaty, Ashley McBryde, Jon Pardi, Lindsey Stirling, Jordan Davis, and Zach Williams.

When: December 14, 8 p.m. ET

How to Watch: ABC; streaming on Hulu and Disney+ on December 15

4. ‘iHeart Radio Jingle Ball’

Originally launched in 2003 by New York City radio station Z100, The Jingle Ball eventually grew into a national tour of top artists. Footage from 11 concerts held in cities across the country throughout 2023 will be aired during the two-hour holiday special.

Performances include Usher, Niall Horan, Nicki Minaj, Olivia Rodrigo, Jelly Roll, SZA, Big Time Rush, Flo Rida, OneRepublic, Sabrina Carpenter, and Miguel, among others.

When: December 21, 8 p.m. ET

How to Watch: ABC; available on-demand on Hulu on December 22

5. ‘Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade’

Marking the 40th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Christmas parade, the two-hour special hosted by Mickey Guyton and Jesse Palmer will feature performances by Disney characters and a collection of artists.

Derek Hough and Julianne Hough will share a medley of “Good Morning” and “Deck the Halls.” Chrissy Metz will sing “Silver Bells,” and the Broadway and North American Aladdin touring cast will perform “Friend Like Me.”

The Smashing Pumpkins are also scheduled to perform a new original holiday song “Evergreen.” The band recently performed “Silver Bells” as The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration, which aired on November 26, 2023.

When: December 25, 10 a.m. ET

How to Watch: ABC; streaming on Disney+ and Hulu on December 26

Photo: Mickey Bernal/NBC

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