Charlie Brown Charm

As a child, I thought Christmas was a time of receiving a plethora of well-deserving gifts. Although we have been told since elementary school that Christmas is more of a time of giving than receiving, I, and I’m sure many others, only looked forward to unwrapping those gifts delivered by “Santa” under the Christmas tree. However, watching a certain television special put me in my place.

One of the most famous Christmas specials of all time, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965) opens up with Charlie Brown confiding in Linus that he is depressed by the materialism associated with Christmas. Lucy eventually asks him to direct the school nativity play. However, Brown has trouble focusing on the true spirit of Christmas since the others want to commercialize it with dancing and music. He then tries to find a Christmas tree as a prop and settles for the smallest tree on the lot, which is symbolically the only real tree. Everyone laughs at his choice and Charlie Brown storms off. Realizing they were a little harsh, Linus and the others come back to decorate the tree and make it beautiful. Charlie Brown returns and all of the characters embrace and sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

I was more profoundly impacted by this short than I expected, and rightfully so. As adorable Linus (the ironically bright kid who sucks his thumb) taught Charlie Brown the true meaning of Christmas, which is that the holiday is about being with the ones you care about the most, he taught me too. That pathetic little tree was a humble reminder that Christmas is not about big gifts or lavish decorations but about surrounding yourself with love and camaraderie.

This 30-minute special, comprised of adorable, philosophical children, made me a little teary-eyed. Suddenly, the value of those presents under my Christmas tree diminished and my annual Christmas family dinner seemed much more important to me. This animation deserves an annual spot on the Christmas TV lineup. It is no wonder “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a timeless short film. I hope it will continue to teach other children what it taught me: the true meaning of an overly-commercialized Christmas.

“At last, the season seemed 100 times brighter. And for Charlie Brown, it was truly the merriest Christmas ever.”

Just like Charlie Brown, I, too, have reached an epiphany.