TV Picks 12.18.11

SUNDAY, Dec. 18, 8pm

Toy Story 2

ABC This 1999 Pixar-Disney animated comedy follows up 1995’s Toy Story with further adventures of cowboy Woody, space ranger Buzz Lightyear and their fellow toys.

THURSDAY, Dec. 22, 11pm

Modern Marvels: Christmas Tech

HISTORY This show visits Rockefeller Center, Macy’s and Fifth Avenue in New York City; a tree farm in Oregon; and a fruitcake bakery in Texas. Advisory: TV-PG.

SATURDAY, Dec. 24, 8pm

It’s a Wonderful Life

NBC Catholic director Frank Capra helmed this 1946 story of a young man (James Stewart) who contemplates suicide one Christmas Eve until, thanks to others’ prayers, an angel in disguise (Henry Travers) shows him how much good he can do in life.

SATURDAY-SUNDAY, Dec. 24-25, live

Christmas With the Holy Father

EWTN At 4pm live on Saturday (11pm Rome time), Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica (two hours; re-airings at 8am and 6pm Sunday). At 6am live on Christmas Day, the Holy Father will deliver his “urbi et orbi” (to the city of Rome and the world) blessing and message (re-airing at 10pm).

SUNDAY, Dec. 25, all day

Movies for Christmas

TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES At 7:45am, The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (1952) movingly tells the Fatima story. At 9:30am, Charlton Heston stars in the 1959 epic Ben-Hur. At 1:30pm, Max von Sydow portrays Jesus in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). At 8pm, Going My Way (1944), with Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald, has one of the most touching Christmas scenes ever.

THURSDAY, Dec. 29, 3am, 6:30pm

The King in Our Midst

EWTN Charles Molineaux surveys Eucharistic adoration in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and around the country.

SATURDAY, Dec. 31, noon, live

Vespers of Thanksgiving 2011

EWTN On the eve of the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, Pope Benedict XVI will preside at first vespers and Te Deum in thanksgiving for the past year. 90 minutes.

SATURDAY, Dec. 31, 8pm

Live From Lincoln Center: Bernstein and Gershwin

PBS In this New Year’s Eve salute to composers Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin, Jean-Yves Thibaudet will be at the piano as Alan Gilbert conducts the New York Philharmonic.

Dan Engler writes from Santa Barbara, California.