Highlights 12/20 to 12/26

Nature journeys in the footsteps of the men who first explored Yellowstone, realizing that everything from the unique crystals of individual snowflakes, to the grand sweep of Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley, this is a Christmas like no other 7 p.m. Sunday.

This Sunday at 8 p.m. Masterpiece Classics chronicles the absurdities and tragedies in the lives of the people of Cranford during one extraordinary year. In part one, Mary Smith flees a crisis at home in Manchester to stay with two spinster sisters in the small, rural town of Cranford.

The Nutcracker’s charming story, dazzling choreography, and magnificent Tchaikovsky score has made it one of the most popular and enduring ballets worldwide. The San Francisco Ballet does its own version on Great Performances 8 p.m. Monday.

Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell joins the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square for a magnificent Christmas With the Mormon Tabernacle celebration featuring some of the season’s most beloved songs 10 p.m. Monday, and 8 p.m. Thursday.

Deep in the Congo lives a little-studied group of apes called the bonobos. Nova at 7 p.m. Tuesday tells the intimate and emotional survival story of these amazing apes from the scientists who have followed them so closely for so long.

In program 2, Frontline examines the period after the first revolt, tracing the development and impact of the Gospels and looking at the increasingly hostile relationship between the Christians and the Jews Tuesday at 8 p.m.

On Michael McDonald –This Christmas, McDonald combines yuletide favorites and a few of his signature hits for a perfect blend of holiday cheer at 10 p.m. Tuesday.

In Context: Voices of Light explores the creative people and unique things that make our lives more interesting Wednesday at 7 p.m.

In La Boheme –The Movie, an operatic “dream couple” reunite as the doomed lovers Mimi and Rodolfo on Great Performances 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Kings of Leon rock the Austin City Limits studio in support of their latest record. Psychedelic innovator Roky Erickson demonstrates why he’s a Texas rock & roll legend, performing songs from his 40-year career at 10 p.m. Wednesday and Friday at 9 p.m.

Faith Hill, backed by an orchestra, sings favorites from her upcoming holiday album, Joy to the World. Thursday at 7 p.m., this Soundstage special features orchestral arrangements and big-band versions of more lighthearted fare, along with more spiritual holiday songs for a night to remember.

More than 500 students in five choirs will perform hymns, carols, choral works and orchestral selections at 9 p.m. Thursday on Christmas at St. Olaf in celebration of the Christmas season.

Canadian indie rock marvel Arcade Fire brings its powerful artistic melodrama to the Austin City Limits stage 7 p.m. Saturday in celebration of its acclaimed second album, The Neon Bible