The holiday season is upon us with all its many traditions. For those of us who grew up in the 1960s, watching the animated TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was and is one of those fond traditions. But how many of us knew that there are two other Peanuts Christmas "specials"? Schulz also created two original Peanuts Christmas comic strips.
The first appeared in the Dec., 1963, issue of Good Housekeeping magazine and was titled "Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking." This short special consists of 15 Peanuts comics (one page of text and an accompanying illustration on the facing page) and is centered on Charlie Brown listening to the gang's thoughts about Christmas with a focus, of course, on stockings and where to hang them. Charlie Brown is flustered because in the new homes of the 1960s there are no fireplaces.
The second is titled "The Christmas Story" and features Linus reading to Snoopy the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke (the same version he recited in the animated special). This appeared in the Dec., 1968, issue of Woman's Day magazine.
These two Peanuts Christmas specials have been reprinted and packaged together in a sweet little (roughly 6"x6", 56 pages) hardcover by the elves at Fantagraphics Books. The design of the book is marvelous, thick off-white stock printed in two colors – red and green of course. Besides the two Christmas pieces, you'll find a brief history of behind the specials and a small bio of Schulz.
"Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking" is sure to bring a warm smile to readers young and old. A yearly reading of this little gem can in itself become a new tradition for the Christmas season.
Rich Clabaugh is a Monitor staff artist.