Charlie Brown’s Christmas first aired in December 1965. At the time, those involved with the production weren’t sure if it would be well received, yet here we are 50 years later and it is shown every holiday, as a yearly tradition.
Fifty years later, Charlie Brown and his pals search for the meaning of Christmas is a true holiday classic, one shared and passed on from one generation to the next. Mark Noon remarks on the appeal for Baby Boomers in an online opinion article,
When baby boomers now watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” they can reminisce about a carefree, less distracted time when they were as young as the “Peanuts” characters.
The Peanut’s classic, created by cartoonist Charles M. Schulz and producer Lee Mendelson, is one of my favorite Christmas specials from my own childhood. I have shared the holiday tradition with my own daughters, since they have been old enough to be a part of Christmas.
Image from A Charlie Brown Christmas special.
The Charlie Brown Tree – a Christmas Ugly Duckling
The scene where Charlie Brown and Linus go in search of a Christmas Tree for the play is one of my favorites from the holiday special.
Charlies M. Schultz speaks through his cartoon characters about the over-commercialism of the holidays which sadly has not gotten better and perhaps has gotten worse since 1965. He also speaks of the mixture of the emotions of the season, some of which are happy, merry and bright and others which are sad and lonely.
The story line of the sad little, wimpy Christmas tree that everyone ridicules touches the hearts of so many people. It has been a beautiful story for teaching empathy to my daughters.
So many people relate to Charlie Brown searching for the true meaning of Christmas. We also relate to that little Christmas tree, who just needs a little love to turn into a beautiful tree.
The unloved, abandoned tree is much like the Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale of the ugly duckling, who eventually becomes a swan. The idea to include the sad tree was pitched by producer Lee Mendelson to Schultz, who included it in the story.
The tree pulls at one’s heartstrings and makes you want to surround it with a blanket of love, perhaps because there is a bit of that tree inside of us.
The Scrawny Tree is An Amazon Best Seller
Since it was first made, the artificial scrawny tree that looks an awful lot like the cartoon version has been a popular gift item and one of the trees that everyone wants for their own decorations.
I got our tree one of the first years it was available. It is the one tree my daughters want to make sure is up every year. It is the one that they love the most.
This year the artificial version is at the top of the Amazon Best Sellers in Christmas Trees—an amazing accomplishment for a tree that initially no one wanted.
I would have wanted one of these scrawny trees when I was in college. The artificial tree would have made my meager Christmas celebrations, often cut short by finals and finances or I would have looked for ways to make one.
Make Your Own Charlie Brown Tree
If you don’t want to purchase one we have information and ideas for making your own sad scrawny tree using artificial pine branches, floral tape and wire at our page on Make a Scrawny Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. Finish off the tree with a red ornament and a blue blanket.
A Charlie Brown Christmas at 50
I don’t believe I watched the Christmas Special the first year it was on, but remember watching it soon after every year as part of our holiday traditions.
This year you get the chance to watch “It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown” the special airing before the annual “A Charlie Brown Christmas” special.
This year the show will be on ABC. If you miss the special, since it is showing early, pick up a copy of the Christmas classic along with your own Charlie Brown tree. You’ll be watching it for many more years to come and sharing the tradition with your children and grandchildren.
Read more about the makings of this unlikely Christmas tradition in these articles:
- Collins S. 2015, November 27. 50 years later, Charlie Brown turns out to be ‘Christmas’ winner after all. Online Athens.
- Noon M. 2015, November 27. How Charlie Brown became a Christmas tradition. Special to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Seattle Times.