It's a Christmas Party, Charlie Brown!
Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang have been a loved and cherished bunch to many of us since the 1950's. Peanuts, the comic strip, ran from 1950 through 2000, the year of the author/illustrator's death (Charles M. Schultz).
During its long run, the comic strip became one of the most popular, with estimates of having (at its peak) 355 million readers from nearly 75 different counties. In addition to the popularity gained by the illustrated comic strip itself, the Peanuts Gang also achieved success through television specials, one of the most well known being A Charlie Brown Christmas.
A Charlie Brown Christmas was the first animated special to be made based on the Peanuts comic strip and was first aired on CBS in December of 1965. It was (and still is) so loved, that CBS continued to air it every December until the year 2000 when ABC started airing it and has continued to do so since.
The Plot of A Charlie Brown Christmas
The story begins with Charlie Brown feeling a bit depressed over Christmas--he just can't seem to get into the Christmas spirit. Charlie feels the holiday is becoming too commercialized and he can't seem to figure out what he has to be happy about. Bottom line? He's mopey!
His friends don't seem to be much help, and his dog, Snoopy, is no help at all! Snoopy has entered his dog house into a decorating contest--first prize wins money, money, MONEY! How can THAT put Charlie Brown in the holiday mood?
His friend Lucy (the resident psychologist) advices him that he needs get involved in Christmas in order to feel a connection and reclaim the holiday spirit. She suggests he be the director of the kids' Christmas play, and he gladly accepts!
After many attempts at trying to get the Peanuts Gang to pay attention, focus, and follow his directions, Charlie Brown feels like a failure. Lucy suggests he go find a spectacular Christmas Tree to display in their play.
When Charlie brings back a half-dead, sad looking pine tree (he thought it looked like it needed a good home), his friends make fun of him for being such a big failure and Charlie throws his hands in the air, as if giving up, and shouts "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!"
At this point, Linus steps in and explains what he thinks Christmas is all about, by reciting from the Bible, Luke, Chapter 2, Verses 8-14:
"8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men."
After hearing this, Charlie Brown is convinced that he can salvage his
Christmas and the play. He takes his sad little tree home with the
intention to decorate it and then bring it back for the play, and upon
passing Snoopy's insanely decorated dog house (which has won 1st Place,
by the way), Charlie hangs a bulb from the dog house onto his tree. And
the tree proceeds to fall over.
Charlie fears he has killed the tree. This, of course, depresses Charlie and he leaves the tree and walks away, mumbling something about how everything he touches gets ruined.
Unbeknown to him, the Peanuts Gang has followed him. They find the sad looking tree, use Snoopy's decorations, and decorate the tree beautifully! Charlie discovers this nice thing they've done and is overjoyed! It seems perhaps they have all discovered the true Christmas Spirit! The story ends with the whole gang, gathered around the tree, singing "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing".
The Main Gist...
What Charlie Brown, and the author, Schultz, were really trying to get across to the audience is that Christmas-time is so much more than the commercialized holiday it has become--even back in '65 when this was made!
Charlie Brown couldn't get into the holiday spirit, and the reason is because he couldn't find a reason to be joyous and happy during Christmas-time. Surrounded by commercialism, decorating contests, and rude "friends" who were being mean to him, it was hard for Charlie to understand the true meaning on Christmas.
When Linus stepped in and recited words from the Bible of Christ's birth, it kind of made everyone realize the true meaning of Christmas and gave everyone a bit of a reality check.
Peanuts, and Charlie Brown, have always done an excellent job of keeping our morals in line. Through light-hearted comedy, simple illustrations, and loveable characters, Schultz did a wonderful job of making us all feel like the gang.
And because of this, Peanuts has been a favorite party theme from decades. This holiday season, why not thrown a Charlie Brown Christmas themed party? Find out how, below...
How To Decorate
Because Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang have been around for so long and are so popular, finding decorations for a peanuts themed party shouldn't be hard. Here are a few links to help you out:
We suggest decorating and creating a feeling of what Christmas was like before all the commercialization. Try to keep it "old school". Use classic Peanuts' images, bright colors, and traditional Christmas decorations like popcorn strings, red velvet bows, silver bells, and paper ring strings.
Depending on your age, you may remember a time when things were simpler and decorations were homemade and not store-bought. If you're too young to remember the good 'ol days, then ask your parents or grandparents for some suggestions on how to decorate in old fashioned, traditional ways.
Charlie Brown Decorations on Amazon
What To Eat
Well, I guess one obvious food to offer would be peanuts, right!? Other than that, we suggest a buffet style Christmas Dinner. Offer sliced turkey with gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, candied yams, roles, and other traditional holiday foods.
To drink, eggnog, spiced apple cider, and hot chocolate will do the trick! I would also keep some rum and Bailey's handy, in case your adult guests want to make their drinks a little more interesting!
And for desert, something old fashioned like apple or berry cobbler, homemade ice cream, or fudge squares will hit the spot!
And How to Entertain
One of the funniest parts of the movie, A Charlie Brown Christmas, is watching the characters dance! As long as your guests aren't afraid to embarrass themselves, pop in the movie and have a dance-off, having each guest dance like one of the characters!
Setting up a booth where Lucy can give advice for 5 cents a piece is a cute idea. Your guests can take turns giving and receiving terrible advice! I mean, how good can it be if it only costs 5 cents, right?!
Decorating either a Charlie Brown tree or Snoopy's dog house will be fun for your guests to do! You can encourage them to bring a handful of their own ornaments and that way the end result will be a collaborative effort of everyone involved!
Other classic games like Pin the Tail on Snoopy, Musical Chairs to the theme music, and maybe a scavenger hunt would also be fun. A snowball fight or snowman building contest will bring out the competition and keep your guests entertained!
When It Really Comes Down To It...
...the important thing to remember when
planning and throwing your party is that you're surrounded by people
you love and that you're celebrating Christmas for the right reasons,
whatever they may be to you! Happy Holidays!
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