The Waltons (1971–1981)
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The Children's Carol 

As Christmas approaches, Mary Ellen and the baby leave to be near Curt; the Baldwins shelter two children from England; Verdie bakes and sells cakes to raise money for the needy overseas.



(created by) (as Earl Hamner),

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Ellen Walton (as Judy Norton-Taylor)
Erin Walton (as Mary Elizabeth McDonough)
Louise Latham ...
Aunt Kate Grover Daly
Jim Henaghan ...
Mr. Clinton
The Narrator (voice) (as Earl Hamner)


As Christmas approaches, Mary Ellen and the baby leave to be near Curt; the Baldwins shelter two children from England; Verdie bakes and sells cakes to raise money for the needy overseas.

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Drama | Family | Romance




Release Date:

8 December 1977 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Verdie delivers her first cake, the front door of the house she delivers to has the outline of the word 'boardroom' on it, indicating that it was re-purposed from a different set. See more »


Narrator: This is Earl Hamner, creator of "The Waltons". This year we bring you a different kind of Christmas story. World War II literally comes to Walton's Mountain in the form of two English children seeking safety from the London Blitz. It's a story of courage and faith and the victory of the human spirit over the shattering impact of war. After this Christmas, never again will the world be the same. I invite you to enjoy a remarkable special broadcast.
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User Reviews

Superb Drama
13 December 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

UP just showed this today. I guess I saw it when it aired, but doubt I've seen it since. So this was like the first time.

This was perhaps the series' best effort, at least to that point, at illustrating some of the horrors of war. The main plot was about the family welcoming two English refugees, Tess, a girl about age 10 and her younger brother, Philip, called Pip.

The younger brother was played by Jeffrey Cotler, who is the younger brother of Kami (Elizabeth). The refugees, have been sent to stay with the Baldwins after their parents were lost in a fire after a Nazi bombing attack. Pip spends most of his time sucking his thumb and refuses to speak or write. The two cause much concern because of their indifference to everything. After the Baldwin ladies become frustrated that the children seem so unhappy, they think being around other children for a short while, during the days before Christmas, might help.

The Waltons welcome them and do all they can to get them to open up. But they continue to frustrate everyone, especially Elizabeth who complains about how they are spoiling Christmas for her because they just watch and won't even join in games when asked.

The secondary plot involves Mary Ellen taking John Curtis to go live in a dumpy boarding house near the base by Ft. Lee where Curt is stationed because she is lonely. They had agreed it would be better to stay with her parents and all the babysitters available while Mary Ellen was at work, but she decided to surprise him by showing up at the fort.

To her surprise, Curt was so busy with his Army duties he didn't have much time to spend with his family. This cause the friction in this part of the episode, with the couple having a big fight, and (SPOILER)--they do make up.

To me, the Mary Ellen plot was the weakest part of the entire episode, by far. She was unreasonable with her demands on Curt and with the way she treated him. It was as thought she thought he could tell the Army he wants time off to be with his wife, instead of following orders.

Meanwhile, Jason is going through his own crisis as he attempts a bayonet drill in his National Guard training. He fears he couldn't kill anyone and struggles with that fear, and with just doing the drill as instructed. He was so troubled by this he decided to give up any connection with music, at least for a while. Of course, he didn't give it up forever--anyone who saw later episodes in the last 4 seasons knows that. The title of this episode deals with a song Jason wrote, that is sung by him and the cast near the end.

Olivia had her own crisis due to seeing how troubled those English children were so traumatized by what the war had done, and thinking about the millions of other children affected by the war. She got so upset that she questioned whether anyone was listening to her prayers. Seeing this devoted Christian questioning the value of her prayers was a rather moving part of the story, and I thought handled very well as she got some good reflections about prayer from an unexpected source.

Jim-Bob has the short-wave radio he hooked up recently working and is regularly communicating with a girl who lives in London, England. This seemed to be a way to get the guests to open up. Tess does talk to the girl a bit, about her lost parents and where they lived.

If you never saw this, or haven't for a long, long time, you likely forgot the ending, as I did. I won't give away any of the endings of the plots.

There were a few delightful scenes with Grandpa, mostly talking with Elizabeth and the English children, as they hunted for a Christmas tree. I loved the way he sat them down to talk about matters after Elizabeth voiced frustration with the visitors. He neither yelled at Elizabeth nor lectured her. Nor did he try to gloss over the matter and pretend it was nothing. It was a great scene and he did have a short-lived positive effect on the children.

There was another minor plot involving Verdie collecting money for charity and how Ben played a major role in saving the day. This part was also extremely well-done.

Thinking of these characters as though they were really English children who had lost their parents and their home in the war did indeed make my eyes water. I think if you sit there like a critic focused on who is doing a good job on acting, or how you might have written that line differently, you won't get that feeling.

But I was caught up in the story, thinking what it would be like if I was actually there with these people involved in all the things going on in the story. This to me made this a really powerful dramatic episode. I haven't rated every one, but would guess I would not give a 10 to as many as a dozen episodes in the series. In other series I like but not as much, I probably could review every episode and not find a single 10. To me, this was a really special episode, as Earl Hamner Jr. said in his opening narration. It really was one of the best.

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