top of page
  • Writer's pictureJohn Carlow

" I can tell you what Christmas is all about. Lights please........."

In 1965 CBS aired a Charlie Brown Christmas. Sponsors were Coca Cola and Dolly Madison. I clearly remember the Dolly Madison commercial. It was truly an event every year when the special aired at Christmas. The 60s weren't an age of 24/7 media in endless formats. You had to wait for the season to see this program. Though only 25 minutes , the once yearly reminder of " what Christmas is all about " would prove to be a legacy of the holiday season ever since.

I suppose in essence it was a commercial venture having been commissioned by Cola Cola ( who has been credited with inventing the character of Santa Claus ) It was Charles Schulz who kept the innocence in the cartoon. Child actor Chris Shea was the voice of Linus who who reminded us all of the " true meaning of Christmas ", reciting the story of Jesus’ birth according to St. Luke near the end of the cartoon. Suppose that perspective and its importance will always be argued, but almost certainly it is a more innocent message than the unrelenting barrage of commercialism Christmas has become to many.

The Vince Guaraldi soundtrack has sold more than 4 million copies and still sells to this day. It is recognized as one of the highest selling Christmas music albums of all time. Again, power of music.

There has been a lot of specials and "special edition versions" of A Charlie Brown Christmas over the years. CBC sold the broadcast rights. Charlie Brown Christmas and its music has been repacked, re imagined, reformatted, and remixed. Its characters and imagery have been packaged and sold endlessly worldwide. Much like Snoopy's doghouse, it has been smothered in commercialism. I feel fortunate to have witnessed this cartoon in its innocence, when I was young and impressionable. Its simple,

initial message hasn't been lost on me. It still makes me smile.

Too many lost souls still search for the meaning of the holidays when December rolls around. Maybe thousands of years from now some alien race will study earths history and ponder our interpretation of this moment in our yearly calendars.


bottom of page