I realize that I am writing this several weeks after Christmas, and this is a Christmas DVD, but this is the first year that I missed watching A Charlie Brown Christmas on television, so I rented the DVD. Ever since I was a little boy, this has been my favorite Christmas special, and one that I always looked forward to watching every year. I grew up reading the Peanuts comic strips and I grew up watching the Peanuts Christmas special.

Charlie Brown is depressed. He can t seem to get himself into the Christmas spirit. He doesn t like the commercialism of Christmas and scarcely knows the true meaning of Christmas. Lucy selects Charlie Brown to be the director of their Christmas play and he decides to get a Christmas tree for the production. The other kids tell him to get a nice shiny aluminum tree, maybe a pink one , but Charlie Brown and Linus bring back a sad looking real tree. Charlie Brown is almost laughed out of the auditorium, but when he asks if anyone knows what Christmas is all about, Linus has the answer. Linus recites a passage from the Bible telling of the birth of Jesus. Charlie Brown is cheered and leaves with the tree. He tries to decorate the little tree, but even that is ruined. Linus and the gang follow behind, fix up the tree, and at the end, they show the true spirit of Christmas.

It is a sweet little Christmas special, filled with memorable moments that will always make me smile. The one thing that amazes me is that Charles Schulz was able to include Linus s speech near the end about the birth of Jesus. I don t imagine that would have been able to be included today, but I think the special is all the stronger for it. I have a hard time imagining that any new Christmas show will ever hold as special a place in my heart as A Charlie Brown Christmas .

This DVD also includes It s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (1992). This Christmas feature is lacking the overall charm and emotion of the older special, but it has a lot more humor. It is also different from the first Christmas special in that this one is more a series of vignettes (perhaps based on Schulz s comic strips) than a complete story. There are sequences with Charlie Brown trying to sell Christmas wreaths before Thanksgiving, and of Sally rehearsing for a Christmas play. Sally s sole line is Hark! , though I think she missed the rest of her lines where the herald angels sing. It is a cute cartoon, but ultimately it does not quite live up to A Charlie Brown Christmas , but it my mind, nothing can live up to that one.