I am a Peanuts Brand Ambassador sharing exclusive content in preparation for the 50th airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas! I was provided with a couple of gifts as a participant in this promotion. The opinions in this post are 100% mine. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
I truly LOVE Christmas specials. It’s been a tradition for me since I was a kid, watching them with my sister in my parents’ house growing up. Now that I have kids of my own, it’s funny that I think I’m as excited as they are when the Christmas special schedule starts coming out. My hands-down favorite is A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s the only one I can think of that shares with kids the true meaning of Christmas, something that’s an important part of our holiday celebration.
This is a special year for A Charlie Brown Christmas and I’m SO excited to be a part of a year-long celebration where we’ll reach two amazing milestones. The 50th time A Charlie Brown Christmas will air will be this December 2014 on ABC. The 50th year since it was created, produced, and debuted will be marked in December 2015.
To launch the celebration, Jill Schulz, 56 (pictured on the right, above), the youngest of Charles M. Schulz’s five children, recently chatted with bloggers around the country to share her personal memories of her Dad; the family Christmas traditions that she shared with her siblings Meredith, Amy, Monte, and Craig; and, of course, the way that A Charlie Brown Christmas has touched her life and the lives of millions of fans across the globe. I am absolutely THRILLED to be part of the group of bloggers participating in this celebration. Jill was a joy to chat with, sharing so much interesting information about her childhood, Peanuts, and her Dad. Here are some of my favorite parts of the interview.
What was it like to celebrate Christmas in the Schulz family?
Jill: We had a pretty typical Christmas, except that we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve. Typically, we’d have neighborhood friends and kids coming over and my mom cooked a great big dinner. Then we’d wait for Santa Claus, I’d always sneak back down and open a window because I thought there was no way he could fit down the chimney.
Once the TV show came out, that became a tradition: both Christmas and Halloween, they became something we’d gather around TV to watch. But to me, it just seemed like a normal family Christmas.
Was there anything in the special that was similar to your childhood?
Jill: There are elements that are supposed to come from my family. Like Lucy’s crabbiness came from Meredith. I’m told that Linus has a blanket because I always had a blanket.” But I can’t say there’s anything specific in the special.
Dad was active in Sunday school when we were much younger, he taught there on Sundays for many years. So the Linus speech was something very important to him. Lee Mendelson tells the story of meeting with the top guys at CBS—they said they loved the special, ‘But you need to take the Linus’ speech out.’ When Lee told Dad that he said, ‘Tell them to just forget it then.’ Now it’s become the most iconic part of the entire TV special. It’s one of my favorite parts because I know how important it was to my father.
Who’s your favorite Peanuts character and why?
Jill: My absolute favorite is Snoopy because I like his imagination and his free spirit, how he imagines whatever he wants to be. I had a pretend friend as a kid that everyone teased me about. And because he’s a dog and I love rescue animals. Then it would be Linus, because I like how calm he remains, how philosophical he is.
It was such a pleasure talking to Jill about A Charlie Brown Christmas and her Dad. Here’s my favorite bit of wisdom she shared from her father. I LOVE this!
“There are too many people who do things because they want to be famous. My dad always said, ‘The joy is in the process, not the end result.’ I’ve always kept that in my back pocket.” – Jill Schulz
The wonderful folks at Peanuts sent me this adorable, cuddly Snoopy plus and this heartwarming book, Be Joyful and I love them both. I won’t even share the Snoopy with the kids! He’s so soft and snuggly. The book is super sweet, full of Peanuts inspiration and smiles.
See? They tried to snag him but I wasn’t having it. Everyone loves Snoopy, moms too! Peanuts is generously offering one of my readers this same fantastic prize pack with the Snoopy plush and the book. Yay! This giveaway is open to US residents ages 18+ and will end at 11:59pm ET on September 17, 2014.