SUNDAY, Dec. 21, 3:30 p.m.

March of the

Wooden Soldiers

FAMILYLAND TV This 1934 family musical-comedy-fantasy, originally titled “Babes in Toyland,” was a TV Christmastime staple for years. Despite their bumbling, assistant toymakers Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy save Mother Peep’s home from foreclosure by evil Barnaby, save Little Bo Peep from having to marry Barnaby, and rescue Toyland from attack by neighboring bogeymen by activating an army of life-size wooden soldiers. Advisory: The bogeymen characters could scare little ones.


SUNDAY, Dec. 21, 8 p.m.

Christmas in Yellowstone

PBS This special follows author-photographer Tom Murphy on one of his Christmastime excursions into 2.2 million-acre Yellowstone National Park, where, in winter’s snowy stillness, he films picturesque landscapes, geothermal hot springs and the survival strategies of buffalo, elk, wolves, grizzly bears, otters and bald eagles. A re-air.

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MONDAY, Dec. 22, 9 p.m.

Cities of the Underworld

HISTORY This episode, “Secret Holy Land,” explores the persecuted ancient Ethiopian Christians’ caves and underground churches, as well as other sites. Advisory: TV-PG.


TUESDAY, Dec. 23, 11 p.m.

Catholic University of America Christmas Concert 2008

EWTN The Catholic University of America choir performs Christmas carols in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Re-airs at 2 p.m. on Christmas Day.


WED.-THU., Dec. 24-25

Midnight Mass and the Blessing Urbi et Orbi

EWTN, CATHOLICTV At 6 p.m. Wednesday, live on EWTN, Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. CatholicTV airs the Mass at 11 p.m. At 6 a.m. Thursday, live on EWTN, the Holy Father offers his Christmas blessing and message. At noon and 10 p.m., CatholicTV airs the Pope’s appearance.


WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31, 8 p.m.

Live from Lincoln Center: New Year’s Eve Gala

PBS Lorin Maazel leads his final concert as music director of the New York Philharmonic in opera selections from Bizet’s “Carmen,” Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos” and Lehar’s “The Merry Widow.”


THURSDAY, Jan. 1, 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m.

From Vienna: New Year’s Celebration 2009

PBS From Vienna’s Musikverein, Julie Andrews hosts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim in Strauss waltzes, marches and polkas.


THURSDAY, Jan. 1, 10 p.m.

Who Has Believed: A Meditation From Isaiah

EWTN Mother Mary Assumpta of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, leads University of Michigan students in a Greek chorus-style recitation of passages from the Book of Isaiah the prophet. Re-airs 5 a.m. Saturday.

Dan Engler writes from
Santa Barbara, California.