I love Christmas music. As a kid, we always started listening to Christmas records (a Readers Digest compilation album, Burl Ives, Bing Crosby) right after we watched the Macy’s Parade on Thanksgiving Day and didn’t stop until after dinner on Christmas Day. And every year we anxiously awaited for the night that our favorite Christmas song-based holiday shows would be on – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, Frosty the Snowman, and A Charlie Brown Christmas.
It’s hard to remember now, but A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) was the first television special based on the Peanuts comic strip. Every year my sister and I would scour the TV Guide for it because we didn’t want to miss Charlie Brown trying to put together a community Christmas play and Linus telling us about the true meaning of Christmas. As a kid, I didn’t know what jazz music was exactly, but I knew that I loved the music in this show. From the iconic “Linus and Lucy” to the lovely “O Tannenbaum” to the unforgettable “Christmas Time is Here,” every note perfectly matched the tone and message of the special.
One of the greatest things about the music that the Vince Guarldi Trio created for A Charlie Brown Christmas is the fact that the music can stand all on its own. While listening to the soundtrack does at points evoke scenes from the show, overall it goes beyond just being a soundtrack for a TV special and instead becomes the soundtrack for the season. As the days leading up to Christmas take on an even more frenetic pace and everyone’s patience becomes thin, take a few minutes to sit back and enjoy the soothing sounds of A Charlie Brown Christmas. (Oh, and speaking of albums, have you seen the LP for this one? It’s on green vinyl!!)