I saw this on TV as a very young child. I think it was focused on the birth of Jesus, being set in the manger. I don’t recall any live actors or human puppets, but I could be wrong about that. I do remember a donkey and possibly a (horse drawn) wagon.
I’ve looked for this before on my own with no luck. I don’t want to watch it again, I just want to clear out the memory vault a bit. Thanks.
Can you eliminate Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey? You are probably looking for something a bit more obscure than a 1977 Rankin and Bass stop-motion Christmas special. And you said you didn’t recall any human characters, and this special does include a few: the donkey’s keeper, a Roman Centurian, Joseph and Mary, and even Santa Claus. It was pretty much a reworking of the Rudolph story. Nestor has very long ears and is an outcast. But Joseph buys him anyway to carry Mary to Bethlehem. When a big sandstorm imperils the holy family, Nestor’s long ears save the day. Afterwards, he returns to his old stable and is admired by all.
The Little Drummer Boy (1968) is a stop-action Christmas special by Rankin-Bass in the manner previously described.
It contains elements of the Nativity story and was rebroadcast many times in the 1970’s (as I recall…)
It’s not either The Night the Animals Talked or The Little Drummer Boy. I am more convinced that it was a puppet show. I remember the odd and specific lighting from the late 60s/early 70s and the sets had the same set-up for puppeteers as Sesame Street where you never see the floor, there are no floor objects to get in the way, etc.