Until today I’m not sure I could have told you my favorite television holiday special. But yesterday, I googled A Charlie Brown Christmas and found that it is available for free viewing on Hulu. I watched it, intending to do some other work at the same time, but had to stop and watch with dedication.
Charlie Brown’s little Christmas tree. Snoopy getting wild dancing on the piano until Lucy and Schroeder glare at him, then turning red and slinking offscreen. Linus hastily turning his beloved blankie into a shepherd’s headcovering under threat of Lucy’s five-finger salute.
And of course, poor browbeaten Charlie Brown asking the true meaning of Christmas until Linus takes his thumb out of his mouth and asks politely, “Lights, please.” Then he proceeds to quote the Biblical story of Christmas.
I understand that not everyone shares this tradition or this faith, but this nearly 50-year-old animated cartoon brought me the Christmas spirit the way nothing else has this year. Part of it may be getting older. When I was a child, I didn’t understand the appeal of Charlie Brown. He moped, felt sorry for himself, and quite frankly was a downer. I wanted to yell at him, “DON’T try to kick that football!” but every time he would run and then fall flat on his back when Lucy pulled the football away at the last minute. But as I get older and have struggled through the ups and downs of trying to establish a career, I’ve come to understand Charlie Brown’s earnest efforts and courage to continue despite setbacks. It’s a good image for me right now with the dissertation monster looming ever larger by the day. I may have wasted eight months of research if I decide to change paths. It’s discouraging, but Charlie Brown’s refusal to give up reminded me that I may feel Charlie Brown at times, but that may not be the worst thing to be.
And while as a child I didn’t quite get Snoopy either, except perhaps to laugh at his silliness, as an adult his hilarious antics paired with Charlie Brown’s over-seriousness came across differently. We may feel Charlie Brownish, but it’s the Charlie Browns who need our silly Snoopy dogs to remind us to laugh.
Today, our Advent Calendar question comes courtesy of Renee Rose.
What is your favorite holiday television special?
If you don’t have one, her alternate question is:
What was your favorite holiday gift?
Oh, and you might also want to check out Kat and Natalie’s letters to Santa today. Well, Santa and Mrs. Claus. You knew that Natalie wouldn’t write to Santa, didn’t you? 😉