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YMMV: A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Adaptation Displacement: 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.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Sums up the initial thoughts of the producers before the special aired.
    • The creators as well — when Charles Schulz and Bill Melendez saw the final cut, they thought this would be the last animation Peanuts would ever do.
  • Awesome Music: The entire soundtrack. Yes, for a 30-minute animated special. There was even an album of Vince Guaraldi's music released, and it too has become a perennial holiday favorite.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Charlie Brown accidentally killing the tree by putting a single decoration on it.
  • Despair Event Horizon: "I killed it."
  • First Installment Wins: This special still reigns as the most popular Peanuts special of all time, to the point some aren't aware how many there are outside this (there's dozens).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Kirk Cameron's film Saving Christmas has the exact opposite message - commercialism and materialism is truly in the spirit of Christmas, along with Santa Claus.
  • Memetic Mutation: In 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 comics, most people know him just for that dance he's doing. You know the one.
    • Taken mainstream when the cast of Scrubs made a Gag Dub of the special.
  • Misaimed Marketing: In the original broadcast, there were ads for Coca-Cola in opening and closing credits - in a show that protests the commercialization of Christmas.
  • Narm Charm: 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.
    • Similarly, the awful animation, a direct result of an abysmal budget. The sponsors offered to have it spruced up when 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).
  • Not So Crazy Anymore: 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.
  • Values Resonance: The shots at holiday commercialism and presentation of the Biblical True Meaning of Christmas have only become more relevant.
  • The Woobie: 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 sung by Vanessa Williams, called "Just Like Me." It's basically Charlie Brown's thoughts when he picks up the tree, except set to sad music. And honestly, the lyrics are ridiculously depressing.
    Hello little tree...
    Kinda looks like me,
    Standing all alone,
    Sorta like it's been disowned...

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