* AdaptationDisplacement: Well, maybe not entirely, but mention the name "Charlie Brown" to many people today and it's a good bet that this special, rather than the strip itself, is the first thing they'll think of.
* AndYouThoughtItWouldFail: Sums up the initial thoughts of the network before the special aired. The creators as well -- when Charles Schulz, Lee Mendelson, and Bill Melendez saw the final cut for the first time, they thought this would be the last animation ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' would ''ever'' do.
* SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic: Music/VinceGuaraldi's soundtrack qualifies from beginning to end. Many people have credited it as their first exposure to jazz. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgoPl35n_AY "Linus and Lucy"]] in particular is pure EarWorm for anyone who's ever heard it. And became '''the''' iconic ''Peanuts'' tune, to the point that it's the official ThemeSong for the franchise in all but name.
* CrossesTheLineTwice: Charlie Brown accidentally killing the tree by putting a single decoration on it.
* FirstInstallmentWins: This special still reigns as by far the most popular ''Peanuts'' special, to the point some aren't aware how many there are outside this and ''It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'' (there's dozens).
* MemeticMutation: In [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0G8XH4WDxP4 the dance sequence]], see that kid in the orange shirt with spiky hair in front of Linus? That's "5". Given that he wasn't very notable even in the comic strip, most people know him just for that dance he's doing. You know the one. Taken mainstream when the cast of ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' made a GagDub of the special.
* MisaimedMarketing: In the original broadcast, there were ads for Coca-Cola in opening and closing credits… in a show that protests the commercialization of Christmas. [[note]] Note that Schulz was never averse to merchandising ''Peanuts'' itself even before 1965 – he had already worked with Bill Melendez producing ''Peanuts''-themed commercials for Ford.[[/note]]
** Since Coca-Cola commissioned the show to begin with, the anti-commercialization theme could be considered [[BitingTheHandHumor Biting The Hand]] FridgeBrilliance.
** ...And now, you can decorate your entire house with ''Peanuts''-themed Christmas merchandise, including an entire line of plastic figures recreating [[{{Irony}} those deeply spiritual moments from this special, including a life-size version of the famous tree]].
* NarmCharm:
** Some of the children providing the voices were too young to understand their lines, resulting in the classic awkward delivery that later became a staple of all ''Peanuts'' specials. Most notable with the little girl who played Sally; she couldn't read and had to be fed her lines one at a time.
** This could also be FridgeBrilliance: when Sally says "All I want is what I have coming to me, all I want is my fair share," she sounds very forced but that could very well be because she's parroting something she heard an adult say.
** Similarly, the awful animation, a direct result of its abysmal budget and extremely compressed production schedule. The sponsors offered to have it spruced up after it became a hit, but Schulz turned them down, saying it was fine as-is (though that never stopped him from pointing out its flaws).
* NotSoCrazyAnymore: The joke about Sally asking Santa for "tens and twenties" has dated rather poorly due to inflation. Granted, even today that's still rather a lot of money to give to a child Sally's age, but you need to imagine that she's asking for ''hundreds'' to translate the sheer excess to the present day. [[note]] $10 in 1965 money equals about $75 in 2015 money.[[/note]]
* SpecialEffectsFailure: During the psychiatric booth scene, close-ups on Lucy reveal that she's phasing through the booth.
* TheyChangedItNowItSucks: The soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi Trio. In 2006, the album was reissued with slightly extended cuts of "O Tannenbaum", "Christmas Time Is Here (instrumental)" and "Skating"; and both "Linus and Lucy" and "Christmas Is Coming" were replaced with slightly different alternate takes that were actually used in the animated special (though record label Concord did decide the inclusion of the lattermost was an actual mistake). Concord offered to replace the album at no cost, and reverted back to the original version of the album shortly thereafter.
* ToughActToFollow: There have been, to date, three other ''Peanuts'' Christmas-themed TV specials after this one (''It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown'', ''Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales'', and ''I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown''), but they all lurk in the shadow of this one since it has become so widely known and celebrated. It's telling that the second of those airs to fill up the remaining hour of current airings, yet most people wouldn't have a clue what you're talking about if you were to bring it up.
* ValuesDissonance: The overt biblical message might be a little uncomfortable/unwelcoming for those who celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday. CBS actually worried about this at the time. By 1965, Christmas was already largely secularized, especially on television, so one of their major complaints about the special was in fact Linus's Bible recitation; they feared a backlash from the less-religious (keep in mind this was years before the rise of the Christian Right as a political and media force).
* ValuesResonance: The shots at holiday commercialism and presentation of the Biblical TrueMeaningOfChristmas have only become more relevant.
* TheWoobie: Charlie Brown as always, but also his tree. No wonder he chooses that one. A 2005 tribute album to the special and its music includes a new song, written by David Benoit and Lee Mendelson and sung by Music/VanessaWilliams, called [[SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic "Just Like]] [[TheWoobie Me"]]. It's basically Charlie Brown's thoughts when he picks up the tree, except set to sad music. And honestly, [[TearJerker the lyrics are ridiculously depressing]].
-->Hello little tree...\\
Kinda looks like me,\\
Standing all alone,\\
Sorta like it's been disowned...