How to Watch Classic Holiday Specials for Free

We have a major holiday season, a roughly two month period at the end of each year, known as the Holidays. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years Eve / Kwanzaa Day: Before one hit comes, the next seems to come until they all start running together. Or maybe they won’t do it this year because we’ll mostly be at home (hopefully) instead of wandering around town to various holiday parties.

While we’re on our way out at home, we could enjoy some of the classic holiday deals while we’re there, which are even better if they were free. A quick side note: given the nature of these “classic” (ie older) specials, most of the time “holiday” refers to Christmas, so we apologize for the lack of representativeness. Either way, here are a few that will give your seasonal mood a kick in the pants.

Holiday Peanut Deals

In its great favor ( cough ), Apple TV + announced earlier this year that it will make three Peanuts holiday deals for free this holiday season (even for those without a subscription). It’s too late to catch This Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, which aired for free from October 30 to November 1, but a group of people were furious at the news that streaming would be the only way to see Charlie Brown. Thanksgiving (available November 25-27) and Charlie Brown Christmas (December 11-13). Fortunately, Apple took the protest to heart (or decided the bad publicity wasn’t worth it) and announced plans to allow the last two specials to be shown on television in partnership with PBS . Mark your calendars – Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving will air ad-free on PBS and PBS Kids on November 22 at 7:30 pm ET, and Charlie Brown Christmas will take place on December 13, also at 7:30 am ET (as always, be sure to check airing in local announcements). And if you miss Charlie Brown’s Christmas or want to watch it another time, it can also be streamed for free on the VHS Vault Internet Archive .

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Sure, it will probably be streaming live this season, but this version from the VHS Vault is available when you are, and comes with 1980s ads.

Christmas in Smoky Mountain

It is the 1986 movie star of the television musical, Dolly Parton. That’s all you need to know. But it also stars Lee Majors, and is directed by Fons himself, Henry Winkler, who also has a cameo role in the film. It’salso on YouTube .


This1984 cartoon traces the origins of Hanukkah . Judd Hirsch is the narrator, and Leonard Nimoy also lends his vocal talents to the special.

Sesame Street Christmas Special

No, not Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, but they both aired in the same year (1978). It features cameos from Ethel Merman, Michael Jackson, Henry Fonda and Leslie Uggams and is available through the VHS Vault .

Celebration Star Wars Trilogy

This presentation of the Star Wars trilogy was originally broadcast on the US network in 1993; The VHS Vault online archive includes the entire cycle in one 7-hour video , including the original commercials.

Fraggle Festive Party

We’ve never needed the Fraggles’ optimism more than we do now, so this is the perfect time to return to their 1993 holiday special , courtesy of the VHS Vault Internet Archive.

Ernest Saves Christmas

This 1988 classic is available on YouTube .

Frosty the Snowman

Will we have real snow this holiday season? Who knows. But we’ll still have Frosty, thanks to this 1969 special on the Internet Archive VHS Vault.

Winnie the Pooh Holiday Special Edition

This web-based video contains Winnie the Pooh 1991 and Christmas Too, followed by 1999 Frankenpooh .

Miracle on 34th Street

No, this is not a 1947 classic starring Maureen O’Hara or a 1994 remake starring Mara Wilson. This1973 film wasshot for television and is available on YouTube.

The Walton Christmas Movie: Homecoming

If your special kind of nostalgia comes from watching a 1970s show depicting 1930s life, you probably liked The Waltons and will appreciate their special Christmas 1971 episode thatairs on YouTube . The post was originally published in October 2020 and was updated on November 19, 2020 to include updates on PBS specials on Charlie Brown.


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