A Charlie Brown Christmas & Fantagraphics' New Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking are Peanuts Christmas Classics

Chalrie discusses his tree.jpg
"Gee I didn't know they still made wooden Christmas trees."
The aluminum tree, a symbol of a gaudy, showy holiday, took a P.R. beating thanks to A Charlie Brown Christmas Special, but also experienced a resurgence in popularity because of the cartoon.

"People were like, 'No, no, we need a real tree!'" Gertler says. "Then several years later people started looking for aluminum Christmas trees because they saw them on A Charlie Brown Christmas and they'd never seen one in their lives and it looked like a good idea."

Gertler continues: "The question of authenticity is central in A Charlie Brown Christmas; you want something simple, pure, and not done for financial motives. Charlie looks down on Snoopy decorating his doghouse because there's a prize to be had -- that's not the reason for it. It should be non-cynical on some level."

The sincere tone of the special continues to resonate with pop culture relevance. Wes Anderson's Royal Tenenbaums featured the special's theme on its soundtrack, and cult TV comedy Arrested Development employed the song and mannerisms of Charlie Brown and company (see if you can spot the Peanuts-inspired Easter Egg in the same episode).

"It communicates instantly," Gertler says of the Arrested Development trivia fact. "The great thing about A Charlie Brown Christmas is that it's such a common experience now, having aired for generations."

The gag illustrates the connection A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Peanuts Christmas material like Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking make directly with viewers and readers, more than a decade after Schulz passed away in 2000.

"Schulz's view was that he was never working for children, that he was always doing Peanuts themed for adults," Gertler says. "He was running off sincere emotions. Look at the way Peanuts characters talk. It's not the way kids talk, but they way they feel is the way that kids feel."

Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking is available from Fantagraphics Books; A Charlie Brown Christmas airs on ABC 15 on Tuesday, December 18, and is available on Hulu.

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