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OF, BY AND FOR THE CHILDREN : A gingham dog and a calico cat do their share of raising holiday spirits


If you're looking for new animated holiday specials about animals, it's raining cats and dogs.

A story by Brigid Clark and the aptly named Christopher Noel, The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat is about two toys from Santa's workshop who don't get along. When they fall off Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve, however, they have to learn to help each other in order to find their way to a new home. Country music great Chet Atkins provided original music for the animated special, which is narrated by pop singer Amy Grant.

"The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat." Monday at 7:30 p.m. Showtime. For 5- to 9-year-olds.


Nutcracker watch: Two versions of this classic holiday ballet air this week. Nutcracker, the Motion Picture (Sunday at 6 p.m. KTLA) is performed by the Pacific Northwest Ballet and the London Symphony Orchestra. In a different version (Thursday at 7:30 p.m. KCET), Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland dance with the American Ballet Theatre. For all ages.

A repeat CBS Schoolbreak Special, "My Past is My Own" (Tuesday at 3 p.m. CBS), stars Whoopi Goldberg in a story about the black civil rights movement in the 1960s. For 11- to 17-year-olds.

An award-winning episode of Nova, "The Miracle of Life" (Tuesday at 9 p.m. KCET) ventures inside the human body via a tiny camera to capture the microscopic drama of conception. For parents and children ages 10 and up.

"Stood Up" (Thursday at 3 p.m. ABC) is an ABC Afterschool Special based on a true story about a high-school senior who sues her date for the price of her dress after he stands her up for the prom. For 12- to 17-year-olds.

How does an iguana get into the Christmas spirit? If it's imaginative Iggy in Christmas Under the Umbrella Tree (Thursday at 11:30 a.m. the Disney Channel), he decorates a cactus instead of an evergreen. For 2- to 5-year-olds.

The 1946 classic tear-jerker The Yearling (Friday at 4 p.m. Showtime), starring Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman and Claude Jarman, Jr., is about a boy who grows attached to a deer. For ages 8 and up.

A Garfield Christmas Special (Friday at 8:30 p.m. CBS) features the world's laziest, most materialistic feline. He reluctantly heads for a less-than-hedonistic holiday in the country-and winds up learning something. For all ages.

The Box of Delights (Saturday at 2 p.m. Nickelodeon) is a holiday fantasy/adventure, both animated and live action, about a very special box with the power to whisk its owner across space and time. For 6- to 15-year-olds.

I Have AIDS-A Teen-ager's Story (Saturday at 8 p.m. KCET), a 3-2-1 Contact Extra, addresses some of the concerns young people have about AIDS, focusing on the experiences of the late Ryan White. For children ages 10 and up and their parents.

Looking ahead: Those squeaky-voiced singing rodents the Chipmunks celebrate their 30th anniversary with a prime-time special The Chipmunks: Rockin' Through the Decades, featuring that trademark Chipmunk sound. Hosting the rock Un' roll extravaganza is rapper Will Smith of "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," who appears with fellow humans Kenny Loggins, Shelley Duvall, Raven Simone of "The Cosby Show," Little Richard, Ben Vereen, Richard Moll and Markie Post. The real stars of the show, of course, are Alvin, Simon and Theodore-who break into the rap scene with a new holiday song, "Sleigh Ride."

"The Chipmunks: Rockin' Through the Decades." Next Sunday at 7 p.m. NBC. For all ages.

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