It’s a Charlie Brown Anniversary

I’m gonna start off by saying just about everyone has seen this holiday special. It’s a legend, really. Everyone knows the plot, how Charlie Brown is clumsy, unlucky goofball who brings in a pathetic little tree for a Christmas pageant, but this little tree teaches everyone the true meaning of Christmas in the end. Everyone knows all the characters. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the Peanuts.

This special is a Christmas tradition for many, and has been aired on TV every December for the past fifty years. Yes, this special turns fifty years old this year! It’s not the oldest holiday special, by any means, but it has managed to endure while other specials fell into obscurity. But why? What is so special about this little special?

I think it’s the simplicity. Everyone, of any age, can understand it. Kids can enjoy Snoopy’s antics and the old-style animation, which has an odd charm to it. Kids can laugh at and with Charlie Brown as he screws everything up, but relate with him in some way. Some days, everyone feels like a loser, some people feel that their whole life, like Charlie Brown. It’s simple and down-to-earth. The voice actors were all real children, too, just plucked up from the local neighborhood, so perhaps it’s easier for the kids to see themselves in the shoes of the characters.

Even adults can find joy in the special. There’s nostalgia at play, seeing they watched in they were kids. It helps take them back to a simpler time. There’s no cutting-edge CGI animation, or an involved plot, it’s not trying to be contemporary, it’s just a short cartoon about what Christmas is really all about, friendship, compassion for your fellow man, and goodwill to all. It’s a lesson that can be taken all throughout life and just gives you that warm Christmas feeling to see all the kids decorate Charlie’s tiny tree and wish him a merry Christmas.

The special is just a wholesome cartoon, and I think that’s why it has endured. There’s honesty to the whole thing, which gives it a strong charm that cannot be easily ignored.