A Charlie Brown Christmas
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A Charlie Brown Christmas

Last night, Taylor mentioned this chart from the webcomic XKCD that illustrates how most of the Christmas music we listen to on the radio is from the Baby Boomer’s childhood. Similarly, A Charlie Brown Christmas was released in 1965 (when my parents were 10 and 6 years old) became the longest running special of all time.

Watching it now, you can hear the bad audio production, see the corners cut in the animation, feel the melancholy and sarcasm typical of Charles Schulz’ work in Peanuts, and appreciate the anti-consumerist message that seems more prescient than before.

This special is far from perfect, but there is a genuine heart to Schulz’s writing that children remember for the rest of their lives. When they become parents themselves, they want to share this television program with their own children to bond and grow closer as a family. It becomes a touchstone, something they can have in common. Whether or not you are a Christian, Linus’ soliloquy about the birth of Christ is a calm, authoritative reassurance that life is a big, grand thing worth celebrating. It gives perspective in a time where we are concerned about purchasing the right things, filled with dread over possibly buying the wrong things, and developing ulcers over making sure the house is full of lights and presents and food. There is more to life than just this, and there is more to Christmas than things.

If you get a chance, read the Wikipedia article or this Top 10 List from TheFW.com chronicling the production of the special, and how it almost didn’t make it to air. CBS executives hated it, but Schulz was very insistent on the sacred message of Christmas being the focal point of the special. The amount of turmoil had convined the producers they had ruined the entire Peanuts franchise. CBS agreed to air it once, then forget about it forever.

Your art and your message is worth fighting for, because who knows how many other people feel the way you feel until you talk about it.

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