Posted on December 14 2016
Nostalgia—The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Hailing from the home of Charles M. Schulz historic studio, I have a soft spot for all things Peanuts—especially during the holidays. Like clockwork, every year I catch the Sebastopol firemen climbing their ladders to prop homemade Peanuts statues—handcrafted and gifted by Schulz himself—on the firehouse roof. And every year, I watch A Charlie Brown Christmas to spark my holiday spirit. Schulz’s first animated Peanuts television special hummed into living rooms December 1965 and returned every holiday season thereafter. I can’t recall any plot points off the top of my head, only the nostalgic soothing melodies of “Christmas Time Is Here,” the bouncy jazz piano Peanuts theme song, and the inspired 2-D dance moves of Charlie Brown’s cronies.
This year, I decided to re-watch the Classic Peanuts holiday special without commercial interruptions or communal distractions for a serious dose of childhood Christmas nostalgia to get me in the holiday spirit. As soon as I saw the animated snowfall and heard the child choir carolers, I was instantly transported to a simpler time—back when the holidays felt more potent, more meaningful. As Charlie Brown skulks about the screen with a heavy case of seasonal depression, I realized that since reaching adulthood I relate to his struggle—the inability to find the meaning of Christmas, to feel the holiday spirit. As a child, I was drawn to Snoopy’s hilarious antics and Sally’s unrequited crush on Linus (as a boy crazy little girl—I could relate). But as an adult, I get Charlie’s grief. His struggles with commercialism and consumerism around the holidays are all too familiar. What happened to the magic of Christmas I felt as a child? And then Linus spelled it out for me with a plethora of biblical words, but I’ll sum it up short and sweet—community—that’s the spark for holiday spirit.
I realized that as a grown woman, my family didn’t always spend the holidays together. Whether they were traveling the world or celebrating with their in-laws, I missed the togetherness of the holidays. But Charlie Brown and gang reminded me that all I need to find my holiday spirit is a bit of community and a whole lot of celebration. To celebrate, I’ll get my first grown-up tree—probably just a fake wimpy Charlie Brown Christmas tree cause it’s easy and nostalgic, but hey it’s a start! If that sad little tree slipped your mind, come take a stroll with me down memory lane and revisit the hilarious and heartwarming gems from this holiday classic. Let the nostalgia glow commence!
Linus' Blanket Skills
Linus’ big sis Lucy may bag on his beloved baby blue security blanket, but Linus proves it's more than a self soothing snuggle sheet. Whether slinging a snowball at a can on the fence or wearing it as a shepherd’s cap for the Christmas play, Linus’ blanket has many practical uses beyond warmth or security.
Lucy's Amateur Psychotherapy
A running gag from Schulz’s comic strip, Lucy Van Pelt’s psychiatry booth often plays host to the chronically depressed Charlie Brown. At 5 cents a pop, her advice is a bargain even if it is often useless. And her adult-sized ambitions far exceed her years. Heck!...she’s already disillusioned by Christmas cause she never gets what she asks for—”REAL ESTATE”—a sound investment at any age. But what struck me most was her insistence on payment upfront. A smart move for any rookie entrepreneur, especially amateur therapist Lucy. At least Charlie Brown has his wise best friend Linus—Lucy’s bright little brother—to help him find his holiday spirit.
Snoopy's Doghouse Decorations
Charlie Brown doesn’t mind Snoopy’s overzealous holiday doghouse decor, just his pups money hungry motivation. The ole neighborhood lights and display contest—“find the true meaning of Christmas! Win money, money, money!” Good Grief! Poor Charlie Brown. His own dog “gone commercial.” I can’t imagine what Snoopy would need all that money, money, money for being a domesticated animal and all, but he winds up winning first place anyways. Snoopy’s a pretty silly pooch, but at least he’s got moxie!
Sally's Santa Letter
Sally's casual letter to Santa with detailed instructions is comic genius! She can't even spell or write her own wish list, but boy can she dictate her wants and needs!
Charlie Brown's Tree Choice
As a child who often chose stuffed animals with lopsided eyes or misshapen ears simply because I worried no one else would appreciate them or take them home, Charlie Brown’s humble taste in lackluster pine trees warms my winter chilled heart. That tree truly did need you Charles!
Linus' Massive Monologue
No matter your religious preference, Linus’ biblical monologue is an impressive feat for an elementary aged youngen. Mad props Linus. Mad props!
(Images via A Charlie Brown Christmas)