Many Christmas stories have been adapted to movies and TV specials, and have been broadcast and repeated many times on TV. Since the popularization of home video in the 1980s, their many editions are sold and re-sold every year during the holiday shopping season. Notable examples are the many versions of the ballet The Nutcracker, the film It's a Wonderful Life, and the similarly themed versions of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, in which the elderly miser Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by ghosts and learns the errors of his ways. By contrast, the hero of the former, George Bailey, is a businessman who sacrificed his dreams to help his community. On Christmas Eve, a guardian angel finds him in despair and prevents him from committing suicide, by supernaturally showing him how much he meant to the world around him.
A few films based on fictionalized versions of true stories have become Christmas specials themselves. The story behind the Christmas carol "Silent Night" and the story of "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" are two examples.
Sometimes, family films boasting special effects and/or uplifting messages, but having no real relation to Christmas, are telecast during the season as part of the holiday programming. The Wizard of Oz, for instance, was always telecast during the Christmas season between 1959 and 1962. Other films often seen around the Christmas period are Annie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Mary Poppins, Oliver!, The Sound of Music, and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory as well as several animated Disney films, along with DreamWorks Animation productions and Pixar movies. Others have some scenes during the Christmas season, such as the Harry Potter films, which are frequently included in the viewing rotation.
In North America, the holiday movie season often includes release of studios' most prestigious pictures, in an effort both to capture holiday crowds and to position themselves for Oscar consideration. Next to summer, this is the second-most lucrative season for the industry. In fact, a few films each year open on the actual Christmas Day holiday. Christmas movies generally open no later than Thanksgiving, as their themes are not so popular once the season is over. Likewise, the home video release of these films is typically delayed until the beginning of the next year's Christmas season.
The Czechs watch Cinderella Fairytales all day long on Christmas. In the United Kingdom, during the 2000s ITV usually showed a James Bond and/or a Harry Potter film(s) during the Christmas Holidays whilst the BBC showed the Chronicles of Narnia and/or High School Musical films. And for a many years Channel 5 have shown American / Canadian made-for-TV Christmas films during the weeks before Christmas.