Maybe It Just Needs A Little Love

charlie.jpgWe’ve kept quiet about the rampant commercialization of classic holiday programming, in part because we kinda like our plush Bumble, and in part because, well, what’s more commercial in the first place than a made-for-TV holiday cartoon? But we have to draw the line with this little item we found in a local CVS. Haven’t these people listened to Linus? Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?

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  1. Laura Northrup says:

    Charlie Brown: Now, with push-button hand-waving tree-decorating action!!

  2. GadgetsAlwaysFit says:

    I have the full set that includes the pathetic tree along with a ‘cover’ that encases it to look like the much loved tree at the end. It is great set for fans of this particular Christmas special. It has to start as the scrawny tree – how else are you going to show what a difference caring can make?

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      That makes more sense… this particular package doesn’t seem to include that, though.

  3. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Christmas is all about loving pathetic trees, come on.

  4. dwasifar says:

    You know, I don’t see anything wrong with this. It’s cute and nostalgic. I’m not a christmas person, but even I want one of these, if only to be able to buy a consumer product self-described as “pathetic.”

  5. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    Love it, want the ornament!

  6. The Cheat says:

    Am I the only person who doesn’t like any of the Charley Brown specials or the comic in general?

  7. MJ Dick says:

    ok, maybe I’m being technical, but does anyone remember this cartoon and what it was about? Charlie Brown was upset and complained about the “commercializing” of Christmas. And now they are commercializing on a cartoon that was against it. Although as it’s Charlie Brown and all the memories that this brings back, I would fight back too hard against this product, but I think that Jim Shultz may say a word or two.

    • MJ Dick says:

      sorry, got cartoonists confused, meant Charles Shultz.

      • scoosdad says:

        Would be a little bit hard for Charles Schulz to say a word or two anyway. He’s been dead for almost ten years now.

    • varro says:

      To be honest, there was plenty of Peanuts merchandise around when the special was produced.

      Even though Charles Schulz criticized the commercialization of Christmas in the show, he profited from Peanuts swag. (Not that there’s anything wrong with it – I don’t subscribe to that stupid hipster idea that keeping it obscure and keeping yourself poor is “keeping it real”.)

      • NeverLetMeDown says:

        The only cartoonist I know of who has avoided this is Bill Watterson, the guy who drew Calvin and Hobbes. He never authorized _any_ merchandise, with the exception of the books. No dolls, no t-shirts, nada. By doing so, he clearly gave up on a huge chunk of cash.

        • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

          But for Watterson, it wasn’t about the money, it was about the art. He really pushed the limits of the newspaper comic system, and I respect him for maintaining the integrity of his vision. When I was a kid I wondered why there weren’t toys of Calvin and Hobbes; I’d have loved to have gotten my tiger-loving sister her very own Hobbes, for example.

          More and more fictional creations are delving into multiple media formats–comics, books, video games, television shows, movies, CD’s, each with multiple consumer product tie-ins. It’s pretty damn rare for anything to stay in just one format, and I really admire that Watterson has successfully kept Calvin and Hobbes more-or-less buttoned down to just its original format–comic strips.

          It is an epic and a classic series, and I only wish that webcomics had existed whene he got started because then he would have had a blank slate as far as creative license, and then the story might still be going.

    • PsiCop says:

      Yes, that’s what hit me right away when I saw this; I immediately recalled Charlie Brown’s own words, “My own dog, gone commercial!”

      That said, Shultz himself definitely cashed in by “commercializing” the Peanuts. Met Life has been licensing them for advertising, for many years … maybe back into the 70s. Also back in the 70s a stationery company (maybe Hallmark, maybe American Greetings, maybe someone else) had a massive line of cards, note pads, pencils, erasers, magnets, book covers, etc. with the Peanuts on them. For a long time we had a candle in the shape of Snoopy stored away in our attic … we gave it to a relative who’s a Peanuts fan, just a year or 2 ago.

      So Schultz definitely “went commercial” himself. Not that I blame him at all, at times his strip was hilarious and thoughtful and both of those deserve to be rewarded. But it is nevertheless ironic.

      • blueduckconsumerist says:

        Schulz and Peanuts were pioneers in licensing comic strips for merchandise. Nobody had ever done it before him. Of course, Schulz *always* maintained creative control of the product — never signed a contract that didn’t make him an equal partner (with 100% final creative say) in the product.

        “A Charlie Brown Christmas” made a strong statement against the commercialization of what was supposed to be a religious observance. Not against the commercialization of commercial products, which Peanuts was and is.

  8. NarcolepticGirl says:

    We have the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree right next to this computer.
    We are too poor to get any other kind. Plus my boyfriend loves Charlie Brown.
    And personally, I don’t care about commercialization.

  9. ElizabethD says:

    OMG, I love this and am buying it tomorrow, and one for my Peanuts-loving BFF as well!!!

  10. DeadWriter says:

    Charlie Brown Christmas on Hulu is there for the watching in good quality with advertisements. It has some good lessons. My first holiday alone I made toast and popcorn. It made me feel good.

  11. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    I have the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree set from Urban Outfitters (includes ‘X’ wooden board base, one lonely red bauble, and the bent tree). Best Christmas decoration ever!

  12. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Actually, I don’t think that tree is nearly pathetic enough. Besides, it’s Christmas nostalgia. A Charlie Brown Christmas is to generation X what It’s a Wonderful Life is to the baby boomers.

    • dwasifar says:

      I think you’re about a generation off with It’s A Wonderful Life, and maybe with both. Charlie Brown Christmas was released in 1965. The oldest boomer was 19 then, and the youngest were still too young to even understand it (depending on where you draw the boomer/Xer line).

      • sponica says:

        despite that they were both watched in my family growing up as they are my dad’s FAVORITE christmas themed movies/specials, and he was only born in 1961. Christmas Eve isn’t Christmas Eve without that old building and loan in my book. Sure I may be one of the few 25 year olds who watches it religiously, but whatever.

      • chargernj says:

        I think that’s about right. The boomers are our parent for the most part. The Charlie Brown Christmas special was new at the time and hadn’t become a cultural icon as of yet. Now when the boomers became parents they plopped their kids in front of the tv when the same special came on thus cementing a tradition.

  13. MikeM_inMD says:

    Are you complaining about the commercialization of a cartoon that originally had two mentions of the primary sponsor (a major soft-drink manufacturer) in the original animation, which are now cut, leaving the opening and closing credits somewhat clunky?

  14. pharmacyfires says:

    I heard they’ve cut some of the scenes from the original special to make room for, get this, more commercials. I’m not making this up, but the person who told me that might have.

  15. 333 (only half evil) says:

    Where’s the hat?

  16. HogwartsProfessor says:

    LOL I love that “pathetic tree” thing. My sister found these crazy action figures somewhere and she got me a Jesus action figure that rolls on wheels in His feet. The package says “With Gliding Action!”

  17. Winter White says:

    I personally love my stuffed spotted elephant and sam the snowman, also courtesy of CVS. They’ve come out every year for at least 7 years now…I’d say I got my $4.99 worth out of them.

  18. shibblegritz says:

    “A Charlie Brown Christmas” itself was from the very beginning a commercial venture, designed to make money, and ad supported in its first airing by the Coca-Cola Company. Oh, delicious irony.

    Even Jesus has been commercialized, people. But you … yes, YOU … have the choice to accept or ignore the commercialism and do with the messages and meaning of Christmas as you will.

    It’s not incumbent on merchandisers or some law to decide what can be exploited commercially and what can’t.

    So if you don’t like Charlie Brown and the pathetic tree, just pass it by. The marketers will learn from that lesson. Soon, enough items passed, Christmas will become as austerely, darkly reverent as some seem to want it to be.

  19. Talisker says:

    “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

    There are tons of people who know what Christmas is all about, but you’re more likely to find them in church than CVS.