Poor Charlie Brown. He really goes through some rough stuff in his life, but that one Christmas… it was a lot to deal with.
I find it ironic that A Charlie Brown Christmas, which preached about the commercialization of Christmas being bad, is now a tool used to commercialize Christmas. The classic Christmas piece is now used more to sell Hallmark cards then preach unity. But at one point, A Charlie Brown Christmas was unique in that it was telling a original story about the true meaning of Christmas.
At the time, Charlie Brown was still a huge face among entertainment. The Peanuts comic strip was leading in syndication at the time, and artist/author Charles M. Schulz was a powerful man in some circles. Main protagonist Charlie Brown took a slew of jokes about everything ranging from how big his head is to how nervous he gets when he tried to speak to the Little Red-Haired Girl he had a crush on. It was rough.
His dealings in A Charlie Brown Christmas are just a sample of this. While trying to create a Christmas show without the glitz and glamor of commercialization, Charlie Brown gets a small, sad Christmas tree and is harassed relentlessly for it, particularly by mean, jerky Lucy van Pelt.
Despite the harassment and jokes, the gang eventually gets together to make the tree beautiful. The work unites the group, complete with a beautiful rendition of Hark, the Herald Angel Sing.
Why does this matter? Well, Charlie Brown is can still be considered a portrait of the perils of growing up. Charlie Brown is not a bad person, but it constantly called a “block-head,” teased, and tortured for being a little different.
While, at the end of the day, everyone still thinks Charlie Brown is a good man (great musical), there are times that his best friend Linus van Pelt and pet dog Snoopy (another great musical) cannot keep Charlie Brown from feeling sad and depressed. Multiple comic strips have Charlie Brown scared to do something for fear of rejection.
Charlie Brown’s attempt to buy a simple Christmas tree, as opposed to a fake, aluminum tree like Lucy wanted, showed a rare attempt to be himself. That was shot down instantly from Lucy and group. AND LUCY CALLS HERSELF A PSYCHIATRIST!
I feel for Charlie Brown. He takes a lot of flack. But his attempt to branch out at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas told me when I was younger that I could just be me. And that is a great message, no matter they holiday.