There is nothing on TV that gets me in the Christmas spirit quite as much as A Charlie Brown Christmas. Released in 1965, it is a timeless classic that endures for many fellow lovers of the holiday season. Charlie Brown we all know and love as the ho-hum, down-on-his-luck grade school boy with the yellow and black shirt. In this particular made-for-TV special, Charlie Brown searches for the true meaning of Christmas. In his conversations with his fellow classmates, he realizes how commercialized Christmas has become. There are Christmas cards to give out. There are pageants to organize. His sister is more focused on her letter of demands to Santa. Even Snoopy has bought into the hype, decorating his dog house like a Macy’s Christmas float.
And then, Linus has the answer. Readers, you may have a wide range of beliefs, but there’s something incredibly sweet and innocent about the way Linus recites the Christmas story. There’s something incredibly poetic about Charlie Brown’s love for a wimpy Christmas tree, shunned by everyone, in which he can see so much of himself. He is able to take something everyone sees as ugly and make it beautiful. And then the kids sing with their faces in the air and their mouths open wide.
I have always enjoyed the humor and the heartwarming stories that the Charlie Brown cartoons have told. The Christmas special reminds us to slow down at Christmas time and remember what it’s really about – celebration, family, of giving.
As a musician, I appreciate the soundtrack almost as much as the story. Vince Guilardi’s jazz piano carols are some of the few holiday tunes I can stomach, let alone enjoy, every year. All of these reasons make A Charlie Brown Christmas a top contender on my list of holiday favorites.