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Mariah, Ella, and ‘Holly Dolly’: 6 TV specials to watch this holiday season

Matthew Gilbert’s picks for the best TV specials this season

"Mariah Carey's Magical Christmas Special" premieres on Apple TV+ Dec. 4.
"Mariah Carey's Magical Christmas Special" premieres on Apple TV+ Dec. 4.Brent N. Clarke

OUR OWN CHRISTMAS Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin host this hour of gospel music, featuring the Clark Sisters, Kierra Sheard, Eric Campbell, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard, Le’Andrea Johnson, Ne-Yo, and Boyz II Men. The press release promises “surprise acts of giving.” OWN, Dec. 1

MY GIFT Carrie Underwood sings traditional favorites and original songs with her band and with an orchestra led by Ricky Minor, former “American Idol” music director. She’ll duet, too, with John Legend and, on “Little Drummer Boy,” with her 5-year-old son. HBO Max, Dec. 3

MARIAH CAREY’S MAGICAL CHRISTMAS SPECIAL Now that you’ve finished her memoir, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey,” you can tune into her holiday celebration, which arrives 25 years after she released her “Merry Christmas” album. The night will include song, dance, and animation, with holiday guests including Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Tiffany Haddish, Billy Eichner, and Misty Copeland. Apple TV+, Dec. 4


A HOLLY DOLLY CHRISTMAS Singer, icon, and, it turns out, heroine, Dolly Parton will perform a candlelit set of holiday songs, as a follow-up to her movie “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square,” already available on Netflix. Parton will also share her memories of holiday seasons past. CBS and CBS All Access, Dec. 6

THE CHRISTMAS SET UP Hallmark, which last year pulled ads for a wedding-planning website that included a same-sex couple, recently premiered its first LGBTQ holiday movie, called “The Christmas House.” Now Lifetime is premiering its first holiday movie to lead with an LGBTQ romance. It’s about two men (played by real-life couple Ben Lewis and Blake Lee) who begin to date after returning to Milwaukee for the holidays. Fran Drescher appears, natch. Lifetime, Dec. 12

ELLA WISHES YOU A SWINGING CHRISTMAS, WITH VANESSA WILLIAMS The American Pops Orchestra presents an evening celebrating Ella Fitzgerald’s 1960 holiday album, “Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas.” Vanessa Williams stars, with appearances by Dee Dee Bridgewater, Norm Lewis, Carmen Ruby Floyd, Nova Payton, Dave Detwiler, and Morgan James. The concert was filmed with a socially distanced live audience in Washington, D.C. GBH 2, Dec. 18


Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.