40 Beloved 1970s Christmas Specials on YouTube

Are you ready to get festive and take a trip down memory lane? If so, you’re in for a treat! With the holidays just around the corner, now is the perfect time to dig up those classic retro Christmas TV specials from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.

Today, we’re focusing on the 1970s, which I would propose was the highlight of the golden age of Christmas TV. There were so many good shows to watch and enjoy with the family. I found over 40 of these great Christmas specials and Christmas-themed episodes that you can enjoy now.

The best part of this stroll down memory lane? You can watch all of these vintage Christmas TV specials and special Christmas episodes of your favorite shows for free online on YouTube! So grab a cup of hot chocolate, snuggle up with your loved ones, and get ready to enjoy some true holiday nostalgia.

40 Beloved 1970s Christmas Specials and Christmas Episodes on YouTube


The Great Christmas Claus Switch (1970)

The special brings together several Christmas special regulars (Ed Sullivan, the Muppets, and Art Carney) to tell the story of a plot to kidnap Santa (played by Carney).

Ed Sullivan narrates the story.


Red Skelton Show, “Christmas Episode” (1970)

Red plays his classic character, Freddie the Freeloader, with Leslie Nielson as a cop who wants to arrest him for selling chestnuts without a license.

The special starts with a mostly silent skit, “The Gift of Giving.”


Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970)

The other day, I walked into our living room and found my husband engrossed in this Christmas classic from the iconic team at Rankin/Bass. It still holds up as an example of Christmas specials done right.

The special, narrated by Fred Astaire and starring Mickey Rooney as Santa Claus, tells the story of how Santa Claus came to be.


The Night the Animals Talked (1970)

A minor holiday classic, this animated special is based on a Norwegian legend that the animals in the stable where Jesus was born gained the ability to talk that night. They bicker among each other at first and even refuse to let Joseph and Mary enter that barn, but they eventually learn to love each other as they realize they’ve just witnessed the birth of the Christ child.


The Bob Hope Christmas Special (1970)

This aired on January 15, so it’s not meant to be a Christmas special for folks in the U.S. Instead, it’s a behind-the-scenes look at Bob Hope’s USO tour to Vietnam to cheer up U.S. troops worldwide.

Some of his zingers are a little hard-hitting for the time. In front of a crowd of 30,000 in Long Binh, Vietnam, he says, “This surprises me. President Nixon thinks you’re all at home.”


The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour Christmas Episode (1970)

I miss all the amazing variety shows we were blessed with in the 1970s. Glen Campbell’s show was a must-watch every week in my house.

Glen shows off his family in this Christmas special, which features Anne Murray (the go-to guest for every Christmas special in the 1970s and 80s) and Mel Tillis.


The Waltons Homecoming (1971)

This heartwarming movie introduced us to the Walton family, who would go on to warm our hearts for nine seasons.

It’s Christmas Eve in 1933, and the whole Walton family is excited about their father’s return after taking a job fifty miles away. However, when a snowstorm threatens his arrival, John Boy goes out on a journey to find him.


A Christmas Carol (1971)

There are so many different versions of Dickens’ holiday classic, but this animated special is one of the best. It’s a straight retelling of the story without any additional plot elements.

Alastair Sim, who voiced Scrooge, also played Scrooge in the 1951 live-action movie Scrooge.


Bing Crosby and The Sounds of Christmas (1971)

This was Bing Crosby’s 36th Christmas special! Bing, his family, and guests, including Robert Goulet, sing classic Christmas carols.


Sonny & Cher, “Christmas Episode” (1972)

Sonny & Cher celebrate Christmas with William Conrad.

The beginning of this episode is one of the sweetest things I’ve seen on TV. Sonny and Cher explain the concept of a Christmas special and Christmas gifts to Chaz (then known as Chastity).

It’s a beautiful glimpse into how much they loved their child.


The Julie Andrews Hour, “Christmas Episode” (1972)


The Julie Andrews Hour aired for one season in 1972-1973. I’m surprised it only ran for one season, considering the talent of the host. If this extraordinary Christmas episode was an example of the show, we really lost out on a classic in the making.

The stellar cast includes Jimmy Stewart, Jack Cassidy, Carl Reiner, and Cass Elliot. The episode’s unquestionable highlight is Rich Little’s impeccable imitation of Jack Benny as Scrooge.


The Dean Martin Show, “Christmas” (1972)

The Dean Martin show ran for nine seasons on NBC and his yearly Christmas show was the highlight of every season.

This episode features several Christmas standards sung by Dean with his backup ensemble, The Golddiggers.


The House Without a Christmas Tree (1972)

Jason Roberds stars in this made-for-TV movie, doing what he does best: playing a supremely grumpy man. Roberds plays a bitter widower who refuses to let his daughter get a Christmas tree.

She finally wins a tree in a school contest but gets rid of it due to her father’s reaction. Surprise! He eventually realizes the error of his ways.


Julie Andrews Christmas Special (1973)

Peter Ustinov plays Santa Claus, who has decided to retire, much to Julie’s dismay. Peggy Lee also guests.


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (1974)

This special, starring Joel Grey, is the most well-known of the Christmas Specials featuring Clement Clarke Moore’s famous poem.

Santa has struck the entire town off his list due to an insulting letter. Everyone must work together to convince Santa to visit on Christmas Eve (spoiler alert: they do!)


Perry Como Christmas Show (1974)

This beautiful special features Perry’s retelling of the very first Christmas. Peggy Fleming and perennial Christmas special guest star Rich Little join Perry, along with The Carpenters.


The City That Forgot about Christmas (1974)

Lutheran Television produced the sweet story, which starred Sebastian Cabot and Charles Nelson Reilly as the Wicked Mayor.

Benji is upset that his family is too busy getting ready for Christmas to spend time with him, so he complains to his Grandfather. His Grandfather responds by telling him the story of a town that had forgotten about Christmas. One day, a carpenter comes to town and tells the residents that Christmas story, much to the displeasure of the evil mayor.


John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Christmas (1975)

The picture quality isn’t great on this sweet special from John Denver, but it’s still fun to watch John Denver sing the songs he did so beautifully.

John duets with a not-quite-yet-gray-haired Steve Martin, who plays his banjo and sings with a butterfly on his nose.


Sonny & Cher, “Christmas Episode” (1976)

This episode of Sonny and Cher’s post-divorce TV series is worth watching just for Captain Kangaroo’s WTF appearance! It also features some of their best Christmas songs, and the always-lovely Bernadette Peters is a guest.


Christmas in Disneyland (1976)

This lighthearted special showcases the beauty of Disney at Christmas. Perennial Christmas special cast member Art Carney plays a grandfather who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. His family, including Sandy Duncan and Glen Campbell, try to change his mind.


Donny and Marie Osmond Christmas Special (1976)

This special, with its lush scenes of snowy Provo, Utah, is sure to get you in the Christmas mood. All of the Osmonds appear in the show, along with guest stars Andy Williams and Paul Lynde.


The Lawrence Welk Show (1976)

This is the 2002 rebroadcast of the 1976 Christmas episode of the Lawrence Welk Show. How well I remember Saturday nights in front of the TV as my mom put my hair up in curlers for church the next day while we watched this show. This episode even features Lawrence singing!


Frosty’s Winter Wonderland (1976)

This Rankin/Bass animated special is the sequel to the 1969 special, Frosty the Snowman.

This time around, Andy Griffith narrates the story, which sees the children reunited with their favorite magical snowman. Once again, an evil villain tries to steal Frosty’s magic hat.


Rhoda, “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” (1977)

OK, ok, this is not a Christmas episode. I’m including it because there are not enough TV shows that illustrate just how anxiety-provoking deciding on your New Year’s Eve plans can be.

In this episode, Rhoda has separated from her husband, Joe, and dreading a New Year’s Eve alone.


Bob Hope All Star Christmas Comedy Special (1977)

It just wasn’t Christmas without a Bob Hope special; this 1977 special is one of his best. Guest stars include Olivia Newton-John and a very young Mark Hamill.

Make sure you watch the banter between Bob and Mark, who is completely at ease with every lousy joke in the bit.


The Carpenters at Christmas (1977)

The Carpenters and their guests, who include Harvey Korman and Kristy McNichol, sing classic Christmas songs and some new material as well.


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (1977)

This live-action special, loosely based on the classic Christmas poem, has a stellar cast including Alice Ghostly, Anne Meara, and Martha Raye.

Paul Lynde plays the frazzled dad, Clark Cosgrove, in a rare serious role.


Christmas at Walt Disney World (1977)

Possibly the most random Christmas special I’ve ever encountered, this show stars Shields and Yarnell, the 70s mime duo, as The Clinkers.

The Clinkers, who appear to be living mannequins?, travel from LA to Orlando for a vacation at Walt Disney World.

You know, as mannequins do. Guests include Pablo Cruise, Phyllis Diller, and Avery Schreiber.


Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (1978)

The Sesame Street gang celebrates Christmas in New York City while Big Bird tries to figure out just how Santa Claus can get down all those chimneys.


The Carpenters: A Christmas Portrait (1978)

This was the second (and final) Christmas special from the Carpenters.

When I was a kid, I watched this show mainly to see Kristy McNichol and her dreamy brother Jimmy. However, as an adult, I appreciate now just how beautiful Karen Carpenter’s voice was.

The classic Christmas songs from this special are tailor-made for Karen’s sultry alto.


The Pink Panther in A Pink Christmas (1978)

My favorite cartoon character, The Pink Panther, is his usual suave self as he prowls the big city before Christmas. He competes with the Big Nose to see who can sell the most Christmas trees before ultimately realizing the true meaning of Christmas.

This is a fun special for Pink Panther fans. The video is high quality, and like most Pink Panther cartoons, it’s mostly silent, relying on sight gags for the humor.


Christmas with Luciano Pavarotti (1978)

This is Luciano Pavarotti at his best, delivering a stunning performance of traditional Christmas carols at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Montreal.


The Gift of Love by O. Henry (1978)

June Lockhart, Marie Osmond, and Timothy Bottoms star in this story of star-crossed lovers set at the turn of the last century. A young orphan in New York City must reconcile her family’s expectations for an “appropriate” marriage when she unexpectedly falls in love with a Swiss immigrant.

Will she choose what’s expected or listen to her heart?


Raggedy Ann and Andy in The Great Santa Claus Caper (1978)

Alexander Graham Wolf, inventor and efficiency expert, who strikingly resembles Wile E. Coyote, is devising a cunning plan to take over Santa’s workshop! Comet the reindeer needs help thwarting his evil plan – so she turns towards her trusty pals Raggedy Ann & Andy, along with their pup Raggedy Arthur.

Why does she turn to the dolls? They’re easy to carry around and they don’t mind the chilly weather one bit!


Donny & Marie Christmas Show (1978)

Donny and Marie join with their entire family for this Christmas episode filmed in Utah. Donny’s wife, Debbie (along with her seriously great 70s hair), makes her first appearance as an Osmond.


Perry Como’s Early American Christmas (1978)

Perry, along with guests John Wayne and Diana Canova, celebrate Christmas as our forefathers did in this special filmed in Colonial Williamsburg.


WKRP in Cincinnati, “Jennifer’s Home for Christmas” (1979)

John Denver brings his squeaky-clean charm to this Christmas special, which features Miss Piggy in all her best piggy diva glory.

Don’t miss John Denver marching in precision as a toy wooden soldier while being serenaded by Miss Piggy. Their slow-mo reunion at the end of the song is priceless.


John Denver & The Muppets Christmas (1979)


Donny & Marie Christmas Special (1979)

Marie sports the hottest hairstyle of the day: the famous Dorothy Hamill cut. Plus, Dorothy Hamill guests on the show, so you can decide who wore it best!

This special is also the TV debut of Donny’s son, Donald Clark Osmond Jr.


An American Christmas Carol (1979)

Henry Winkler stars in this retelling of Dickens’ classic Christmas story, this time set in New England.

Winkler plays Benedict Slade, a New England businessman in the 1930s who learns to love Christmas after he is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.