I’ve gone on and on about how Christmas is my favorite time of the year, and one of my favorite parts of the holiday is watching all of the Christmas specials. I could ramble forever about how many great ones there are. Miracle On 34th Street, A Christmas Carol, The Polar Express, these are just a few of the noteworthy ones amongst a number of timeless classics. Today, I’d like to focus on two Christmas specials that are very near and dear to me. I’ve watched them every single Christmas since I was a kid, and I pretty much have every line, scene, and music composition memorized. I’m talking about none other than How The Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas.
With the exception of A Christmas Carol, How The Grinch Stole Christmas is probably the most popular holiday special. The special tells the story of the titular Grinch, a green curmudgeon who hates everything about Christmas. After enduring one too many celebrations from the Whos down in Whoville, the Grinch takes it upon himself to steal Christmas. As crazy as that sounds, he almost pulls it off. He sneaks into the home of every Who, and takes their presents, decorations, and even their holiday hams.
But the loss of these material things doesn’t phase the Whos at all. Come Christmas morning, they all join hands to sing the joys of Christmas. The sight of such a Christmas miracle warms the Grinch’s heart, and he rides down his mountain to join the Whos in celebration. There’s so much to love about this special, and it simply has to be seen, even if just to hear the eponymous song.
Anybody that knows me is all too familiar with my love of all things Peanuts, and A Charlie Brown Christmas is no exception. It’s my all-time favorite Christmas special, and for good reason. Everything about it is executed about as well as can possibly be done. While some may say that the animation leaves a bit to be desired, it is extremely faithful to the art style of the comic strips. And don’t even get me started on the soundtrack. Vince Guaraldi is an absolute musical genius when it comes to easy listening jazz, and smooth piano chords. My personal favorite songs are Greensleeves, O Tannenbaum and Christmas Time Is Here, but the entire soundtrack is phenomenal.
The beauty of the Peanuts has always been in their simplicity. A Charlie Brown Christmas features Charlie Brown trying to enjoy a simple holiday, one that isn’t overcomplicated by retail and material things. This is best represented by the humble little tree that he chooses to present to the other children. It’s not flashy or glamorous, but it perfectly encapsulates what the holiday is all about. The highlight of the special is definitely Linus’ speech towards the end. Linus recites Luke 2:8-14 from the Bible, and whether you’re religious or not, his delivery will definitely leave an impact on you.
Christmas is a holiday that is about many of the simple and peaceful things in life. The holiday represents love, generosity, and togetherness. In my mind, no Christmas specials capture this feeling better than How The Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Should I ever forget what Christmas is all about, I know I’ll always have these specials to remind me.