A Charlie Brown Christmas aired as part of the Christmas season for the fiftieth time last night.
It seems like a lot of the things I enjoy are celebrating milestone anniversaries these days. But there aren’t many that I’ve watched longer than A Charlie Brown Christmas.*
*I suspect I’m not alone in this.
Growing up, it seemed like the special aired a bit closer to Christmas than it does now. This created a bit of an issue when my family was stationed in Hawaii for four years. This was in the days before satellite television and so television programs were generally shown in our fiftieth state a week behind their transmission date in the continental United States. ** This sometimes meant that certain Christmas specials would air the week after Christmas. This was also the days when VCRs were a bit luxury item and we’d often say that if we had one, it would be worth it to record all the Christmas specials one year and then watch then the next year leading up Christmas instead of after it
** Of course, we could also go to the beach on Christmas day. It’s all a trade-off!
These days, the special is available on DVD and Blu-Ray. I’m certain you can watch it digitally as well. But there’s still something about watching it as it airs that makes it special.
In my day, we didn’t have commercially released recordings of the Peanuts specials. Instead we had book and record sets that included samples from the soundtrack for the show on vinyl. You could pick from the smaller sized record or the longer runner LP. I had the smaller sized version book and record set growing up and I remember that I’d declare a moratorium on listening to it as we go into October and November.
One year while searching the vinyl records to check out from the library, I came across a copy of the soundtrack for the show on LP. I eagerly checked it out and took it home, expecting it to be the longer version of the short LP I had. Turns out I was incorrect in this assumption. Instead of containing the audio soundtrack from the show, it was Vince Garaldi’s iconic jazz score. At the time, I was disappointed (I was six, maybe seven at the time!). But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate and love the Garaldi composition that accompanies the episode.***
*** Listening to it is one of the highlights of the season for me and I’m always kind of sorry to have to put it away when the season comes to a close.
My appreciation for the special and its soundtrack has grown over time and it’s one of the many things about Christmas I look forward to sharing with my son or daughter as he or she grows up.