Early 1970s Christmas themed puppet(?) TV special

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.

It’s not Nestor. As the title states I saw this thing in the early 70s.

the night the animals talked?

it was shown in 1970 and has jesus birth, manger, and animals

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.

spirit of christmas?

I see the whole thing with the marionettes is on youtube

Nope and nope. I’m thinking it’s possible it was a regional thing as that was still a thing in the early 70s. If that’s the case, then the American mid-west: Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota.