All sorts of movies and TV specials can be considered time-honored classics for those who celebrate Christmas. There's Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a film adapted from the classic Christmas song that became the definitive imagery of Christmas specials. There's also The Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton's stop-motion classic that doubles as both a Halloween and a Christmas movie. Then there's A Charlie Brown Christmas.
The 30-minute special follows the titular melancholy child as he struggles to find the true meaning of Christmas amidst the spectacle and commercialism to which the holiday is so often subjected. The episode is widely recognized for its quirky dialogue, simple but pleasant animation, and unforgettable score from the Vince Guaraldi Trio.
Yet despite the special's popularity, you might find it a little more difficult to track down this year. Here's where you can watch A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Here how to watch 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'.
The Charlie Brown Christmas special first aired in 1965 on CBS and would be rerun every year during the holiday season until the year 2000. Starting in 2001, ABC would take over for yearly airings for the special after the network acquired the rights. In 2015, ABC also aired a celebrity-filled retrospective of A Charlie Brown Christmas to celebrate the episode's 50th anniversary. This anniversary also saw the release of a two-DVD set featuring a Making of... documentary for the special.
Aside from yearly airings on TV and occasional re-releases on DVD and Blu-ray, fans could also purchase the special and watch it on the iTunes Store, the PlayStation Network, Amazon Instant Video, and Google Play.
But with the ever-shifting landscape of television and its transition to streaming, even the once-yearly airings of the special have been affected.
If you want to watch the special now in 2022, you can stream it on Apple TV Plus. And there will temporarily be a way to watch it there for free (more on that in a moment!).
Why is 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' not on TV in 2022?
Despite the special having become a time-honored television staple for the holiday season, it's become a little more difficult to watch, as with most of Charlie Brown's adventures. In October 2020, Apple TV Plus struck a deal with Peanuts Worldwide to become the exclusive streaming home for Charlie Brown–related media both new and old. Of course, the deal included A Charlie Brown Christmas. As of this writing, Apple TV Plus is the only place where you can find it streaming.
But if you don't want to pay for an Apple TV Plus subscription, there are still options (even beyond signing up for a free trial). In an effort to emulate the yearly traditional broadcast of A Charlie Brown Christmas, the special will available for free for a limited time to non-subscribers for the holidays. Fans can stream the special at no cost from Dec. 22 to Christmas Day on Dec. 25.
If nothing else, this offer is certainly truer to the original message of A Charlie Brown Christmas than having to pay for another streaming service.