Top Picks: 'M.F.K. Fisher’s Provence,' the Count Basie Orchestra's 'A Very Swingin’ Basie Christmas!,' and more

A holiday tradition returns with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, 'Miracle on 34th Street' returns to movie theaters, and more.

Paramount Pictures

Angelic voices

A holiday tradition returns with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. PBS will air the group’s annual concert along with the Orchestra at Temple Square Dec. 21 at 9 p.m. Need to get your kids excited about the show? “Frozen” star Santino Fontana and the characters of “Sesame Street” are scheduled to appear during the program.

Sparkle and swing

’Tis the season to be swingin’! Time for hanging lights, tapping your toes, and snapping your fingers to A Very Swingin’ Basie Christmas! by the Count Basie Orchestra. The evergreen Johnny Mathis summons a jazzier side and delivers a sizzling vocal on “It’s the Holiday Season,” and the rest of the classic yuletide tunes sparkle in classic Count Basie style. The orchestra’s founding father has been gone for three decades now, but this swinging ensemble does him proud. 

Taste of Provence

M.F.K. Fisher’s Provence is an essay and photo book that combines the words of the great food writer with images from photojournalist Aileen Ah-Tye. Fisher’s lyrical prose and scenes of everyday grace caught by Ah-Tye’s lens will remind readers of the cultural gentility that is France. The project sprang from the photographer’s desire to illustrate life in Provence as the writer experienced it. The effort will leave you refreshed and inspired. 

Holiday miracle

The 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street, which tells the story of a man who claims to be Santa Claus and the people who believe him, has become a beloved holiday classic. This year the movie, starring Edmund Gwenn and Maureen O’Hara, returns to the big screen through Fathom Events on Dec. 20 and 23. Check out to see if it will be at a theater near you.  

Two for the couch

Looking for an excuse to relax during the busy holiday season with a movie? Here are two very different options: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation brings Tom Cruise back for another go-round, and thanks to writer-director Christopher McQuarrie, the characters are more than mere action heroes. The documentary He Named Me Malala tells the inspiring story of the life of Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai and her bravery in the face of the Taliban. Both are available on DVD and Blu-ray.

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