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A Charlie Brown Christmas: What makes this TV special timeless?


“I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.”

You may wonder if this quote is from a mystery or drama show, not expecting that Charlie Brown, a children’s show, would depict seasonal depression. Charlie Brown Christmas debuted on CBS on December 9, 1965. Written by Charles M. Schulz and music by Vince Guaraldi, this special became a timeless Christmas show, but what makes this TV special so popular?

At the start of the movie, Charlie Brown finds himself depressed despite it being the “most wonderful time of the year.” His friend, Lucy Van Pelt, suggests he direct a Christmas play and get the neighborhood involved to lift his mood. However, he can only find a small, puny Christmas tree for the centerpiece, and he is mocked for using it. In this episode, we see Charlie Brown acknowledge how much sadness can hide behind the holiday cheer. He wonders why the happiest time of the year feels lonely, and searches for the true meaning of Christmas with the help of his friends. This episode was widely received by children and adults. Charlie Brown Christmas is timeless due to the fact that the true spirit of Christmas and struggles with depression are just as relevant today as they were when the episode first aired back in 1965. Isolation and loneliness resonate with many people, in fact, 55% of Americans struggle with the winter blues. This can be due to seasonal depression, grief, anxiety around illnesses, and 41% due to not being around loved ones.

Charlie Brown Christmas influenced other tv shows to make their own holiday specials, such as The Grinch and Frosty the Snowman. Vince Guaraldi wrote the score for the show. These jazz songs created this warm, comforting feeling that exemplified the Christmas vibe. Director Bill Melendez said “I have always felt that one of the key elements that made that show was the music. It gave it a contemporary sound that appealed to all ages.” Even the score for this show is timeless. The music has sold over 5 million copies since its debut and there have been live theatrical performances. The relatability of people of all ages makes Charlie Brown Christmas a tradition for many families and has become a nostalgic, comforting show for millions around the holiday season. In the end of the special, Charlie Brown and his friends decorate a small droopy tree, showing that a small tree can be perfect if you have the people you love alongside you.

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About the Contributor
Tyler Weaver
Tyler Weaver, Entertainment Writer
Tyler is a junior at Richwoods High School. He has been a part of Interact club, IB programme, 2 years of student council, theater, and participates in other school activities. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, cooking, playing guitar and piano, as well as performing in various shows around the Peoria area.

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