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Holiday Jump-Starts : CHRISTMAS CHESTNUTS AND OTHER SPECIALS AIMED TO FIRE UP THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

TIMES STAFF WRITER

It may have seemed way too early when department stores hung mistletoe and trimmed trees before Halloween haunting, but now the season’s really crept up on us. TV offers more than a stocking full of treats to keep you merry while gift-wrapping.

Here’s a selective look (times and dates are subject to change):

Cassic Specials

A Charlie Brown Christmas: Everyone’s favorite little blockhead takes pity on a tiny tree. Wednesday, 8 p.m. CBS.

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The Christmas Toy: Kermit the Frog reveals an enchanted playroom that comes to life. Wednesday, 7 p.m., and Friday, 10 a.m. Nickelodeon.

A Garfield Christmas Special: The wry cat reluctantly goes to the country with his owner, Jon, and his dog, Odie. Dec. 14, 8 p.m. CBS.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: This TNT one-hour special edition includes the secret life of the bane of Who-ville, followed by a new look at how the late Theodor Geisel’s (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) unlovable character came to TV life. Featured are interviews with his widow, Audrey Geisel; his collaborator, Bugs Bunny animator Chuck Jones; composer Albert Hague; Thurl Ravenscroft, the Grinch’s singing voice, and Seuss disciple, director Tim Burton. Former “Saturday Night Live” regular Phil Hartman hosts. Dec. 12, 5 p.m. TNT.

Mickey’s Christmas Carol: A Mickey-ized version of the Dickens classic. Dec. 22, 8 p.m. CBS .

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Muppet Family Christmas: The Muppets sing, tell jokes and celebrate the holidays at Fozzie Bear’s mom’s house. Dec. 14, 7 p.m., and Dec. 16, 10 a.m. Nickelodeon.

The Simpsons’ “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”: The perennial has Bart and Lisa in a pageant; Homer is a mall Santa; Santa’s Little Helper (the dog) joins the family. Dec. 11, 8 p.m. Fox.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas: Holiday celebrations with a clock maker, a family of mice and a sensitive Claus. Dec. 21, 8 p.m. CBS.

Family

A Flintstones Christmas Carol: A Stone Age version of the Dickens classic. Dec. 18, 2 p.m. KCAL .

It’s a Wonderful Tiny Toon Christmas: Buster wants to leave Acme Acres until a guardian angel shows him what the town would be like without him. Dec. 25, 7 p.m. Fox.

Life With Louis: A Christmas Surprise for Mrs. Stillman: Louis Anderson tells this animated Christmas story from his childhood. Dec. 18, 8:30 p.m. Fox.

Old MacDonald’s Sing-a-Long Farm Moo Tide Greetings Holiday Special: The gang learns about tales and customs from around the world. Dec. 17, noon, and Dec. 23, 8 a.m. Lifetime.

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Shelley Duvall’s Bedtime Stories: “The Christmas Witch,”: Angela Lansbury narrates. Young witch-in-training Gloria must prove she’s got what it takes to become a Christmas witch. Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 14, 7:30 a.m.; Dec. 25, 7:30 a.m., Dec. 30, 5:30 p.m. Showtime.

Timmy’s Gift: A young angel is asked to deliver a crown to the newborn prince in Bethlehem. Dec. 18, 7 p.m.; Dec. 23 at noon and 6 p.m. Family Channel.

Timmy’s Special Delivery: Timmy the angel answers the holiday prayers of two children. Monday, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 23, 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Family Channel.

Movies

Babes in Toyland (1961): Stars Ray Bolger, Tommy Sands, Tommy Kirk and Annette Funicello in the Disney version of the Victor Herbert operetta. Monday, 1 p.m.; Dec. 17, 5 p.m.; Dec. 25, 2 p.m. Disney.

The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945): Bing Crosby stars with Ingrid Bergman in this sequel to “Going My Way.” Dec. 25, 11:45 p.m. TNT.

The Bishop’s Wife (1947): Cary Grant is an angel who visits marrieds Loretta Young and David Niven during the holidays to help them find the meaning of Christmas. Dec. 19, 7 p.m. TNT.

A Christmas Carol (1938): Reginald Owen is Scrooge in MGM’s adaptation. Dec. 19, 9:25 p.m. TNT.

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Christmas in Connecticut (1992): Arnold Schwarzenegger directed this remake about a TV hostess who opens her home to a real-life hero. Starring Dyan Cannon, Kris Kristofferson and Tony Curtis. Dec. 25, 4:15 p.m. TNT.

Christmas Eve (1986): Loretta Young returned to the screen after 23 years to play an eccentric determined to reunite her grown children with their children. Dec. 24, 5 p.m. KCAL.

A Christmas Romance (1994): A young widow, her two daughters and a cranky banker are snowed in during Christmas. Olivia Newton-John and Gregory Harrison star. Dec. 18, 9 p.m. CBS.

A Christmas Story (1983): Jean Shepherd’s gentle recollections of Christmases past and a boy who wants a BB gun. Dec. 18, 4:30 p.m. and Dec. 21, 11 a.m. TNT .

It’s a Wonderful Life: The classic’s only airing this year. In Christmases past, the Jimmy Stewart/Donna Reed tear-jerker was airing all over the channel lineup but now is no longer in public domain. Saturday, 8 p.m. NBC.

King of Kings (1962): Jeffrey Hunter stars in the Christ story, as told by Nicholas Ray. Sunda y , 1:30 p.m. TNT.

One Christmas (1994): Katharine Hepburn and Henry Winkler star in this Truman Capote tale of a shy boy who searches for his estranged father and spends the holidays with him. Dec. 19, 9 p.m. NBC.

Pocketful of Miracles (1961): Frank Capra’s final film and Ann-Margret’s first. A street vendor wishes to be a lady for her visiting daughter. Sunday, 8 a.m., and Dec. 16, 6 p.m. TNT.

Solstice: A Christmas Story (1994): On Christmas Eve, a disillusioned young man in Chicago can’t shake his cynicism, until he meets a variety of characters who manage to change his mind. Starring Michael G. Kelley and Mary Margaret McCloud. Friday, 10 p.m. Lifetime.

Music

Aaron Neville’s Christmas in New Orleans: Linda Ronstadt teams up with Neville. Sunday at 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 p.m.; Dec. 12, 8 p.m. and Dec. 25, 9 p.m. Family Channel.

Holiday at Pops! Christmas Concert 1994: The Boston Pops directed by John Williams, with guest Kathie Lee Gifford. Dec. 18, 9 p.m., and Dec. 24, 9 p.m. A&E.;

Kathie Lee Gifford Christmas Special: The popular talk-show host, who’s also featured on two other specials, offers up holiday song and dance. Dec. 21, 9 p.m. CBS.

Opryland Christmas: Country Christmas performances. Dec. 22, 9 p.m. CBS .

Perry Como’s Irish Christmas: The holiday and hearts of Irish Christmas. Sunday, 10 p.m. KOCE; Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. KVCR; Dec. 11, 6 p.m. KCET.

A Riders in the Sky Christmas: Reba McEntire joins in for holiday fun. Dec. 19, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. TNN.

The Statler Bros. Christmas: The McGuire Sisters and actor David Huddleston join in the festivities. Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.; Dec. 24 at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. TNN.

Specials

Bah Humbug!: James Earl Jones and Martin Sheen help celebrate Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” with readings and background on the book. Dec. 25, 7 p.m. KPBS; 8 p.m. KCET.

Biography: Santa Claus: How did the Santa legend begin? Tune in. Dec. 19 , 5 p.m. , 9 p.m. A&E.;

Christmas Dreams & Fantasies: The Making of the Victoria Secret Holiday Catalogue: Madonna’s “Truth or Dare” director Alex Keshishian takes a behind-the-scenes look. Sunday, 10 p.m.; Dec. 15, 9:30 p.m., Showtime.

A Christmas Carol: The Northern Ballet Theater’s interpretation of Scrooge and his four ghosts. Thursday 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. A&E.;

A Christmas Memory: Truman Capote’s autobiographal tale, about a small boy and an elderly relative who send fruitcakes to their favorite people, stars Geraldine Page. Dec. 15, 10 p.m. A&E.;

Holiday Kitchen: Hosts from seven learning Learning Channel cooking shows share holiday recipes. Dec. 18, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Learning Channel.

The Honeymooners’ First Christmas: The final “lost” episode, hosted by “Mad About You’s” Paul Reiser. Dec. 7, 10 p.m. Disney.

Santa’s Journey: Al Roker hosts this fictional live-action tale from “Santa’s North Pole Workshop.” Dec. 24, 8 p.m. NBC.

The Tin Soldier: A new ballet version of the Hans Christian Andersen story, courtesy of the Ottawa Ballet. Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. Disney.

Variety

Christmas at Home With the Stars: Holiday cheer with Toni Braxton, Aretha Franklin, Kenny G., Vince Gill, Amy Grant and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Dec. 17, 8 p.m. ABC.

Christmas in Washington: Helen Hunt hosts the 13th annual show from the National Building Museum, with performances by Anita Baker, Jon Secada and Kathy Mattea. Dec. 14, 10 p.m. NBC.

Disney Christmas Fantasy on Ice: The holidays presented on ice by Kurt Browning, Peter and Kitty Caruthers, Scott Hamilton, Nancy Kerrigan and Katarina Witt. Dec. 23, 8 p.m. CBS .

Walt Disney World Inside Out: The Magic Kingdom is festive for the holidays, as guests talk about the meaning of Christmas. A visit to Epcot’s Body Wars shows how holiday goodies are digested. Friday, 9:35 p.m.; Dec. 14, 9:30 p.m. Disney Channel.

Good Morning America’s “Holiday Entertaining”: A weeklong “back-to-basic” suggestions. Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. ABC.

Hopes for the Holidays: Tony Bennett, Lindsay Wagner, Mark Curry and Kaitlin Culum join Bob Hope. Dec. 14, 9 p.m. NBC.

Live With Regis & Kathie Lee: The duo’s families join them in a holiday show. Dec. 23, 9 a.m. KABC.

Television’s Christmas Classics: Marie Osmond hosts a look at classic Christmas moments from favorite TV shows. Dec. 23, 10 p.m. CBS .

Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade: Joan Lunden and Regis Philbin host; Nancy Kerrigan performs. Dec. 25, 10 a.m. ABC.


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