When I think of all the people (and one dog) I would like to spend Christmas with, Charles M. Schulz’s endearingly insightful band of characters from Peanuts comes fairly close to the top of the list.
(Dear family and close friends, please rest assured you are at the top of the list; although if Snoopy were to offer me a ride on his Sopwith Camel in pursuit of the Red Baron on Christmas Day, then I might have to reconsider.)
After all, they knowing the meaning of Christmas (the evergreen special A Charlie Brown Christmas proved that once and for all).
Lucy seems convinced that Schroeder should have way more mistletoe garlanded around his piano than he does, and that if he really liked her he would buy her something but she also, to be fair, appreciates his Christmas compositions.
Snoopy is more than happy to help Woodstock writes letter to Monsieur Claus, even checking to see what colour the requested present in question should be, and stopping to wish his sweet little friend “Merry Christmas.”
He even remembers to get a present for “The Round-Headed Kid” although that does give Charlie Brown cause to wish that he wished he had “a dog who remembered your name”.
As the tagline on the cover suggests though some of the characters’ ideas of what Christmas means might a little more towards the self-interested side of the things from time to time.
Sally for instance strikes everyone off her Christmas card list with gleeful abandon, leaving no one to send cards to – she signs them anyway – and struggles to remember her brother’s name, deciding she’ll call him “Sam” since she can’t spell that.
And Snoopy doesn’t quite understand that you probably shouldn’t eat a snowman’s chocolate chip cookie eyes or eat the entire bowl of the same cookies that “the Round-Headed Kid” gives him.
But things usually right themselves eventually and every remembers that Christmas is ultimately all about thinking of others.
Linus, always the thoughtful and considerate is at pains to remind Snoopy that “This is a good time of year to write and tell someone how much they really meant to you”, prompting everyone’s favourite unconventional Beagle to pen a sweet letter of thanks to … his Supper Dish (yes it’s italicised).
OK that’s perhaps not who Linus was talking about but at least Snoopy, along with everyone else gets into the spirit of the season.
And in Peanuts 65th year, that’s why I’d like to spend just one Christmas with this lovely group of human beings who truly understand why it is, in the end, that we deck the halls, decorate the trees and buy presents.
Merry Christmas once and all, and for goodness sake, don’t forget to buy Lucy a present!