With Christmas not too far off, the television specials are getting ready to kick into gear. And a fairly new holiday tradition, the third annual 'CMA Country Christmas Special' is returning December 20th to ABC-TV, hosted once again by Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles.

Nettles has been the host of the 'CMA Country Christmas' each year since its first broadcast in 2010, and the popularity of the television special has increased each year. The lineup of performers tells us that trend is likely to continue. Country stars scheduled to participate include Jennifer Nettles, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Scotty McCreery, Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry, Little Big Town, and Martina McBride.

But that's not all. This year's show will feature performances from several non-country artists. Nine-time Grammy Award-winning singer John Legend, pop singer Colbie Caillat, and popular classical/crossover singer Katherine Jenkins will also lend their talents to the evening's festivities. There will be plenty of Christmas music, as well as artists sharing some of their favorite Christmas stories.

According to GAC, CMA Chief Executive Officer Steve Moore says:

“The popularity of 'CMA Country Christmas' grows each year. The special is reaching across format lines and bringing in new viewers who appreciate great performances. It is especially rewarding that ABC has made the decision to air the program three times during the holiday season.”

This is clearly a can't miss for any country music fan, or anyone who just wants to enjoy the Christmas season. ABC will give you several opportunities to watch without overtaxing your DVR. The 'CMA Country Christmas' special will air first on Thursday, December 20th at 8:00pm CT, then again on Saturday, Dec. 22nd at 8:00pm CT and Sunday, Dec. 23rd at 4:00pm CT.

Here's Jennifer Nettles performing 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' at the 2011 'CMA Country Christmas' Special: