Highlights 12/19 to 12/25

Celebrating its 88th year, the National Christmas Tree Lighting at 6 p.m. Sunday will signals the start of the holiday season across the country and includes performances by some of the most recognizable names in entertainment.

Nature at 7 p.m. Sunday presents “Christmas in Yellowstone”, an exploration of the great winter world of Yellowstone through captivating images of the spectacular landscape and wildlife.

Masterpiece Contemporary at 8 p.m. Sunday presents Endgame, a real-life political thriller about the negotiations that led to the end of apartheid in South Africa.

Independent Lens at 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday presents part one of The Calling, a two-part behind-the-scenes look at young Americans of different religions preparing to become the nation’s next generation of holy leaders.

A Time for Champions at 10 p.m. Monday charts the influence of St. Louis’ immigrant community, amateur leagues and college teams on the development and increased popularity of soccer in the United States.

Nova at 7 p.m. Tuesday presents “Arctic Dinosaurs”, a unique field expedition heading towards Alaska’s North Slope to defrost a jackpot of new fossil clues in attempt to uncover polar dinosaurs’ lives and environment in vivid detail.

Secrets of the Dead: Battle for the Bible at 7 p.m. Wednesday explores the dramatic, violent and world-shaking story of the most famous and widely-read book in history.

Presented by award-winning filmmaker David Grubin, Buddha at 8 p.m. Wednesday tells the story of the Buddha’s life and draws upon the work of some of the world’s greatest artists and sculptors, who across two millennia have depicted the Buddha’s life in art rich in beauty and complexity.

Eclectic singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird dazzles with songs from his album “Noble Beast” on Austin City Limits at 10 p.m. Wednesday and 9 p.m. Friday, followed by the imaginative indie pop of St. Vincent.

Christmas at Concordia- Journey to Bethlehem at 7 p.m. Thursday presents a Christmas concert filled with holiday favorites performed by the world-renowned choirs and compositions of artistic director and composer, Rene Clausen.

Natalie Cole and David McCullough join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for the annual Christmas concert from Salt Lake City on Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle at 8 p.m. Thursday.

L.A. Holiday Celebration 2010 at 9 p.m. Thursday reflects the cultural mosaic of Los Angeles and the broader “melting pot” of the United States as performers of African, Asian, European and Latino backgrounds join to express the joy of the season.

Author and activist Michael Pollan discusses his most recent books regarding the act of buying and consuming food on Overheard with Evan Smith at 8:30 p.m. Friday.

The University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota shares its annual holiday concert at 10 p.m. Friday, featuring seven of the university’s internationally renowned vocal and instrumental ensembles performing a festive collection of seasonal favorites.

Ben Harper debuts his new band, Relentless7, with a rocking set drawn from his album White Lies for Dark Times on Austin City Limits at 7 p.m. Saturday.