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Screen Gems: TV the week of December 19

A Christmas Story (8 p.m. Friday, TBS) A funny, touching 1983 film about cranky Santas, fascist Xmasstory teachers, unsympathetic teachers, the effect of low- temperature physics on the human tongue, the Second Amendment rights of children and -of course - alternative sexualities, particularly erotic fixations on desk lamps. And if you miss it at 8, TBS repeats it for another 22 hours.

It's A Wonderful Life (8 p.m. Friday, NBC) Critics and audiences alike hated Frank Capra's film about small-town desperation and redemption on Christmas Eve. But television audiences have disagreed, radically, since it became a TV staple in the mid-1970s.

Yule Log (5 a.m. Saturday, WSFL-CW 39) If you're fool enough to miss spending the holidays up north in a blizzard, WSFL is airing the image of a crackling fire for two hours Christmas morning. All the fun of a white Christmas without the high heating bills, snow-shoveling heart attacks or probable outbreaks of cannibalism among desperate snowbound families.

R.L Stine's The Haunting Hour (8 p.m. Saturday, The Hub) The kids have already broken all their new toys and worked themselves into a hyperkinetic frenzy from eating Christmas candy all day. Terrify them into subservience with this new series from the renowned author of scary children's stories R.L. Stine. And be prepared, this first episode, A Creature Was Stirring, isn't about some cute Christmas mouse.

Let me program your TiVo! Just click on my best bets for the week at www.tivo.com/guruguide.

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