"Santa Claus is Coming to Town" every year. 

"Santa Claus is Coming to Town" every year. 

CLASSIC MEDIA

The shopping centers aren't the only place where the holidays start early. TV has followed suit, with holiday specials that rolled out as early as the Thanksgiving weekend.

But there are still plenty to watch, if you know where to look.  There's nothing worse than surfing channels for that one Christmas special you know they're playing. Freeform has its annual "25 Days of Christmas" programming going on, and that includes a few of those classic Rankin/Bass stop-motion productions, including Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Sunday, Dec. 20, at 3:30 p.m.). 

Here's help if you yearn for more.

(Sadly, I can't find anyone airing one of my favorite Christmas movies, The Long Kiss Goodnight.)

SUNDAY

The Sound of Music: It's an annual, if long, event. Julie Andrews followed her film debut in Mary Poppins with this indelible role as a song-happy governess-wannabe nun who falls in love. 6 p.m. ABC

Holiday Baking Championship: Watch nine big-time bakers compete for $50,000. And then say, "I can do that." 8 p.m. Food Network

MONDAY

America's Got Talent Holiday Spectacular: Season 2 winner -- and Dallas native -- Terry Fator and Season 11 winner Grace VanderWaal are scheduled to perform. Oh, and Heidi Klum, too. 7 p.m. NBC

The Great Christmas Light Fight: Someone has a replica of the Space Needle? What does that electric bill look like? 7 p.m. ABC

Michelle Obama Says Farewell: Excuse me, but I'm sure Christmas will come up in conversation. The real question is, will Oprah Winfrey make the First Lady to cry? 7 p.m. CBS

TUESDAY

Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best is Yet to Come: We should all celebrate as the all-star performing at this event will, in song. Performers will include Michael Buble, Stevie Wonder and, of course, Lady Gaga. 8 p.m. NBC

Michael Buble Sings and Swings: Always a good time, it's the charismatic singer's sixth (!) holiday special. 7 p.m. NBC

Terry Crews Saves Christmas: The star of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and a crew of experts kick off a week of episodes in which they help some lucky souls add some more jingle to their holiday bells and whistles. 7 p.m. the CW

Terry Crews is a jolly elf as he helps make Christmas all shiny and bright for some hapless decorators.

Terry Crews is a jolly elf as he helps make Christmas all shiny and bright for some hapless decorators.

TYLER GOLDEN/THE CW

WEDNESDAY 

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas: In the third film featuring the titular pair, they're looking for a tree. Ah, simplicity. 7 p.m. FXX

Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas: The animated special is based on the Will Ferrell movie and the Broadway musical about a misplaced elf. 7 p.m. NBC

THURSDAY

A Charlie Brown Christmas: That tree will get you every time. 7 p.m. ABC

The Great Holiday Baking Show: There's a whole lot of sugar going on. 8 p.m. ABC

FRIDAY

A Home for the Holidays: Lindale's Miranda Lambert is the star of this annual special with part of its focus on adoption. 7 p.m. CBS

Miranda Lambert performs on the 18th annual "Home for the Holidays." The special celebrates families.

Miranda Lambert performs on the 18th annual "Home for the Holidays." The special celebrates families.

SONJA FLEMMING/CBS

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: It's not easy being this type of green, either. 7 p.m. NBC

Sense8: A Christmas Special: It's the perfect gift for fans of this series about people from all over the world who are joined at the senses. It'll be a long wait until Season 2 in May. Netflix

SATURDAY

It's a Wonderful Life: Everyone needs a return trip to Bedford Falls. 7 p.m. NBC

A Christmas Story: It's time for the annual 24-hour marathon. 7 p.m. TBS

Lidia Celebrates America: Holiday for Heroes: The chef fixes dinner for some seamen aboard the USS George Washington. 11 a.m. KERA

Justice League Action: OK, I snuck a non-Christmas show in. But the little ones will be getting antsy right about now and this new comedic take on the superheroes might be just the ticket. 6:30 a.m. Cartoon Network

Out this week in home entertainment

It's a bit a surreal when little Dolly encounters the Dolly we all know and love in Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love.

But it's only fitting that the superstar should not only share her story but be a part of the telling, especially when it comes to instilling confidence (and playing a character credited as "The Painted Lady").

Fans seemed to agree when the movie, in what has become an annual tradition of Dolly at Christmas, aired earlier this month. More than 11 million people watched the TV movie.

The Magnificent SevenSully or Storks could well have been the lead story any other week. 

But Dolly is the queen and Christmas is her season with appearances in this movie and on a few holiday specials all around the TV dial.

Dolly Parton as The Painted Lady and Alyvia Alyn Lind as Dolly Parton in the TV movie "Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love." It's out on DVD the week of Dec. 19, 2016.

Dolly Parton as The Painted Lady and Alyvia Alyn Lind as Dolly Parton in the TV movie "Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love." It's out on DVD the week of Dec. 19, 2016.

Annette Brown/NBC

Also out this week: 31; The Disappointments Room; Doctor Who: Series Eight, Part 2; Goat; Greater; Hillsong: Let Home Rise; Hitchcock/Truffaut; It Had to Be You; Maximum Ride; Oasis: Supersonic; Roseanne for President.

For more TV news, views and reviews, follow @DawnBurkes on Twitter.

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