* 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 producers before the special aired.
** The creators as well -- when Creator/CharlesMSchulz and Creator/BillMelendez saw the final cut, they thought this would be the last animation ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' would ''ever'' do.
* SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic: The entire soundtrack. Yes, for a ''30-minute animated special''. There was even an album of Music/VinceGuaraldi's music released, and it too has become a perennial holiday favorite.
** The jazzy [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgoPl35n_AY "Linus and Lucy"]] is pure EarWorm.
*** And became '''the''' iconic ''Peanuts'' tune, to the point that it's the official ThemeSong in all but name.
* CrossesTheLineTwice: Charlie Brown accidentally killing the tree by putting a single decoration on it.
* DespairEventHorizon: "I ''killed'' it."
* FirstInstallmentWins: 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.)
* HilariousInHindsight: Kirk Cameron's film ''Film/SavingChristmas'' has the exact opposite message -- commercialism and materialism is truly in the spirit of Christmas, along with SantaClaus.
* 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 comics, 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.
** 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.
** 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.)
* 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.
* 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 Creator/DavidBenoit 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...''