Fun holiday fact: if you collected all of the tears that have been shed over A Charlie Brown Christmas for the past 50 years, you could provide clean drinking water to a village in the developing world for a year.
Non-fun holiday fact: A Charlie Brown Christmas is a tear-festival masquerading under the guise of children’s entertainment.
In honor of the classic cartoon’s fiftieth anniversary, and our own inability to KEEP IT TOGETHER FOR ONCE, here are the moments from A Charlie Brown Christmas that are most likely to turn you into a one-person snot factory:
That Freaking Soundtrack
Vince Guaraldi, you cruel, cruel man. First of all, a choir of children’s soprano voices is always a little emotional (yes, Auntie Molls will come to your Christmas concert, and no, she’s not crying because she hates it. She’s crying because she’s a deep well of feelings parading around as a competent adult woman). But also: Christmas jazz? Major sevenths strewn about like wrapping paper on a Christmas morning? TWINKLING PIANO, for heaven’s sake?
The Children’s Speaking Voices, In General
Nothing takes you out of a cartoon like an adult trying to do a child’s voice. The adorable, real voice overs make the Charlie Brown cartoons, especially Linus.
Charlie’s Christmas Crisis
He knows he should be happy, but he’s not. Nobody’s sending him Christmas cards. Everyone’s wrapped up in Christmas commercialism. And he’s, like, 8. Kind of a bummer of a concept. Plus half of the other kids treat him like trash, so you see where he gets that downer mood from.
The Other Kids Treating Charlie Brown Like Trash
“Do something right for a change.” “You’re hopeless, completely hopeless.” “He’s not the kind you can depend on to do anything right.” It’s like Charlie’s friend group is made up entirely of the worst thoughts you have about yourself, come to life.
Lucy Taking Credit For Charlie’s Idea
You know how sometimes you’re at a meeting, and you have an idea, and a minute after you say it someone tries to present it as theirs? (At these times I like to pretend that maybe I’m secretly a ghost and I don’t know it yet.) Anyway, that happens to Charlie with the tree. Lucy would.
Because sometimes, don’t you feel like the tiniest, worst Christmas tree?
Linus Telling The Christmas Story
Forget children singing. Children doing Bible readings is the sweetest thing ever. And this coming from someone who’s not exceptionally into the Bible (aside from going to Catholic school for so long that you can literally tell by looking at me). Plus Linus just made his way to center stage and DID IT, meaning he had the whole thing memorized and at the ready while Charlie was thinking that nobody cared about the real meaning of Christmas. Then Linus drags his blanket offstage like it was nothing and says “that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown” and the mic drops and I die.
When The Kids Fix The Tree
Look. Clearly one of those children is a wizard, because the end-product tree doesn’t even slightly resemble the O.G. Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. I can only imagine that while they’re huddled around the tree waving their arms, what they’re actually doing is replacing it with an entirely different tree and saying “don’t tell Charlie, because I think he’s sort of going through some stuff.” Nevertheless, it shows that there’s hope for even the tiniest, worst Christmas trees of all.