It was the Number One US syndicated animated special in 1980, and was aired not only in Canada and the United States, but also in England via BBC and ITV. This special is narrated by Rich Little.
The story takes place in a forest located "slightly a ways north" on Earth called the Evergreen Forest. It's "the day before the day before Christmas," but Dan, the chief forest ranger, just learned that someone is chopping down all of the forest's trees. His children, Julie and Tommy, are concerned, but their father assures them that he'll do whatever he can to get to the bottom of it. The kids, with their sheepdog, Schaeffer, go to sleep and dream of winter fun. Meanwhile, in one tree known as the Raccoondominium, the Raccoons are preparing for Christmas. Ralph picks up the paper, and he too is outraged to learn about the disappearing trees. Bert, however, doesn't take the matter as seriously. Yet outside, the tree thief is revealed to be Cyril Sneer, who is looking for big bucks in his lumber company. His son, Cedric, tries to talk him out of his crazed plans to destroy the whole forest, reasoning that they already have enough trees. But as Cyril puts it, "I'm Cyril Sneer, a lumber profiteer! Whenever I'm near, trees disappear!" And unfortunately, one of those trees turns out to be the Raccoondominium.
Left without a home, the Raccoons try to find who's behind the destruction of the forest. However, Cyril dropped their tree on the way, where Julie and Tommy find it and declare it the perfect Christmas tree. Ralph sees the kids bring in into their house, and deduces that they must be stealing the trees. Once Schaeffer is left alone in the cabin, The Raccoons make their way inside, where they find the Raccoondominium decorated with ornaments, tinsel, and lights. As the Raccoons try to get their stockings back, some decorations fall onto the floor and Schaeffer, who has been napping nearby, wakes up from the noise and chases them through the forest. Eventually, though, Schaeffer finds out the truth about his family's Christmas tree, as do the Raccoons about his innocence. The animals then team up to find the real tree thief. Once caught, Cyril finally admits that it was he who cut down the trees and that Cedric is innocent. Cyril eventually promises to replant all the trees.
The Raccoons and Schaeffer are pleased that they have saved the forest, but the Raccoons are still upset that they still haven't got a home and Schaeffer shares their sorrow, as he is desperate to help them but he can't think of how to help. They walk back to the cabin and they wish each other a merry Christmas and Schaeffer tells the Raccoons not to give up hope. Julie and Tommy have already returned and as they begin to wonder why some of the decorations have fallen off the tree and where the stockings came from (they belong to the Raccoons), Schaeffer realises they can help and alerts the kids to the window, where the Raccoons can be seen in the cold. Julie and Tommy realise that their Christmas tree must be the Raccoons' home and they phone their father so that the Raccoons can get a new home.
The next day, the kids rush to open their presents, but are surprised to see that the tree has gone. When they ask their father, he tells them that they didn't even have a tree, and the kids realise that it mustn't even be Christmas Day yet and they must have dreamt the events of the previous day. Dan tells the kids that the mystery of the disappearing trees hasn't been solved, but the trees have stopped being cut down for some reason. He reads a newspaper article to them which says that "Overnight, thousands of seedlings were planted but they didn't know who did it." Schaeffer alerts the kids to the window again and they can see that the Raccoons have found a new home in a re-planted tree not far from the cabin.
- Chief Forest Ranger Dan
- Ralph Raccoon
- Melissa Raccoon
- Bert Raccoon
- Cyril Sneer
- Cedric Sneer
- Aardvark workers (Do not speak)
- This is the only time in the whole franchise where the humans (Julie and Tommy) and the Raccoons meet each other.
- Introduces most of the main characters:
- Ralph Raccoon (voiced by Bob Dermer)
- Melissa Raccoon (voiced by Rita Coolidge)
- Bert Raccoon (voiced by Len Carlson)
- Schaeffer (voiced by Carl Banas)
- Chief Forest Ranger Dan (voiced by Rupert Holmes)
- Julie (voiced by Tammy Bourne)
- Tommy (voiced by Hadley Kay)
- Cyril Sneer (voiced by Michael Magee)
- Cedric Sneer (voiced by Fred Little)
- When Melissa throws a snowball at Cyril, she shouts, "Take that!" but her mouth doesn't move.