If you must choose only one Christmas special to watch this year– and every year for that matter– go with A Charlie Brown Snoopy Christmas . Airing annually since December 9, 1965, Charlie Brown’s quest to discover the true meaning of Christmas takes him through a psychiatric help session with Lucy, a school play no one really cares about doing and the selection of a paltry, wooden tree that withers in no time.
Exasperated and dejected, Charlie throws his hands up in the air and asks, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”.
Santa Claus never makes an appearance in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Sure, Charlie helps his sister Sally write a letter to Saint Nick, but unlike other Christmas classics where Santa is essential (e.g. The Santa Clause, A Christmas Story or Elf), Kris Kringle’s absence from Charlie Brown does nothing to diminish the story.
The film tackles heavy themes, namely commercialization and depression. For instance, Lucy loves “that beautiful sound of clanking nickels” while Sally is perfectly content with “10s and 20s.” Charlie’s dog Snoopy completely overhauls his doghouse to win “money, money, money!” in the neighborhood lighting contest. Finally, Charlie Brown is told that the Christmas tree he’s going to purchase for the play must be “shiny.” Throughout the movie, he’s positioned in conflict with the consumerism around him.
Snoopy Christmas Charlie’s question about the meaning of Christmas points to one that’s set in the hearts of all men and women: Isn’t there more than this? Isn’t there more than Christmas cards and Christmas trees and Santa Claus and snow and toys and lighting contests?