I remember seeing this in 1975, I was twenty, just got married in November and life was much simpler then. I remember thinking that "A Charlie Brown Christmas" stood out as one of the few TV shows or programs that showed the true meaning of Christmas. I even told the BBC that, as I was on their viewer review panel. Watching it now and knowing how its existence came about and how it was put together it still holds together. You can see the joins though. Once you revelled in hearing your favourite Peanuts quotes spoken on the TV but now they sound disjointed, it doesn't flow. I will still give it five stars though as I enjoyed watching it again, a surreal nostalgic trip to an age of innocence that never was. It's all there, Charlie Browns angst, worrying about doing the right thing, a old head on young shoulders. Sally, mercenary to the extreme "All I want is what's coming to me, all I want is what's rightfully mine" How many times do you see actions today that speak those very words. Then there's Linus, his eye firmly on the ball, I'm sure that if he had been real he would have glided effortlessly thorough life, oblivious to the many slings and arrows that effect Charlie Brown. Linus recites from the bible about the birth of Christ proclaiming "that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." Thus reliving Charlie Browns anxiety at the over commercialisation of Christmas. Charlie Browns hopelessly weedy tree is transformed by Snoopy's Christmas lights from his award winning festooned kennel. But oh, Vince Guaraldi's amazing sound track, Christmas Jazz at its finest. The visuals may look a little old fashioned but the message and sentiment is just as relevant today as it was then and always will be, marvellous.
For two or three generations, 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' has been a Christmas television staple in North America. In an age of near-hysterical Christian evangelical rhetoric, the gentle tone of this animated gem is a welcome respite. It promotes compassion, sensitivity, friendship and generosity in an entertaining, charming style. Though some might find the narrative a tad sentimental (c'mon, it's Christmas!), it never condescends. And the Vince Guaraldi soundtrack is a Christmas classic in its own right.
I must admit I was slightly worried when I realised the dvd was coming from America, however this arrived quickly and played straight away with no problems. Love these short films, I love watching Charlie Brown and this is a fab Christmas dvd to add to my collection.