A Charlie Brown Christmas got groovy in Northern California.

By Anita Garner

We know every word, every scene and every song in A Charlie Brown Christmas by heart.  Sure we could watch it anytime on DVD but it’s fun to gather around our electronic hearth to watch together every year, even if we have to record it for later playback when everyone’s available.

This year, A Charlie Brown Christmas is on ABC tomorrow, December 6th.

The soundtrack’s so familiar now, it’s hard to believe the producer had to fight the network to hire Vince Guaraldi to do the music.  The network  and the sponsor who was paying for the whole thing hadn’t heard of Vince and didn’t believe jazz would be the right fit for a show about kids.

In The City By The Bay, musician friends who worked with Vince told me he kept going out on gigs, the way they all did, playing every spot available, sometimes with his own Vince Guaraldi Trio, sometimes with the more-famous-at-the-time, Cal Tjader.

In the early 60’s Vince had a moderate hit with “Cast Your Fate To The Wind.”  Bay Area Producer Lee Mendelson heard it on the radio in his car while crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on his way to Sebastopol in Sonoma County for a meeting with Peanuts creator, Charles Schulz.  Lee liked Vince’s style.  He thought Vince would be the perfect fit for the show. Boy, was he ever!

Somebody on You Tube made a sweet little montage of scenes set to “Christmas Time Is Here.”

 

 

Thanksgiving – Before and After

real-simple1As soon as Halloween is over, I look forward to Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. No shopping.  No wrapping.  No costumes.  Good mood. Good food. Great leftovers.  We eat early and eat too much, then return to eat again. There’ll be a neighborhood stroll between snacks, but there will be more eating. 

 

We’ll have delicious late-in-the-day sandwiches.  We bring in special rolls (some of us love sourdough, others prefer wheat.) There’s nothing exotic about our Thanksgiving planned-over sandwiches, but there’s no other sandwich all year that tastes this good. Frank Bruni writes about his family’s similar sandwich tradition in Real Simple Magazine.   

By dessert time, music starts. Christmas begins with Thanksgiving pie. Some years Johnny Mathis kicks off the season.  Sometimes it’s Burl Ives, or Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown soundtrack. 

 

Meanwhile, I’m already humming a chorus of “Count Your Blessings.” Some years there’s a need to start the humming earlier, a reminder to myself that no matter what else happened during the year, there are still reasons to be grateful.

 

(photo from Real Simple)