WASHINGTON, D.C.—August 24, 2015—For your consideration, example No. 459 illustrating the power of print, courtesy of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the beloved Peanuts gang.
The U.S. Postal Service is releasing a set of 10 Christmas stamps commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1965 animated television special, "A Charlie Brown Christmas." The stamps are set to be released Oct. 1. They are nothing short of masterpieces in miniature, flush with halcyon warm-n-fuzzies.
The TV special has become a cornerstone of animated Christmas shows that exploded on the small screen beginning in the 1960s, joining the ranks of TV staples such as "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "The Year Without a Santa Claus." Rudolph and his pals were immortalized with stamp issues in 2014 to mark their golden anniversary.
What is quite striking about this release is that most of the scenes depicted in the stamps are readily identifiable, half of which center around the small and somewhat lackluster tree that came to be the lightning rod of the storyline. For the benefit of those unfamiliar with the tale, Charlie picked up this sparse tree as an accoutrement/prop of sorts for his school play. The tree's modesty represented Charlie's railing against the commercialization of Christmas—ironic, in that the USPS has been criticized in recent years for choosing more commercial subjects for its stamp releases.
In the end, Charlie Brown was really trying to get in touch with the real meaning of Christmas. The episode culminated with Linus reciting Luke 2:8-14 from the Bible (King James version), an emotional scene that would stir controversy if done today. That is a reminder of the disconnect between the commercialized holiday and its true raison d'être…apparently as relevant 50 years ago as it is today.
Here's hoping, as the stamp of him holding the tree while smiling suggests, that Charlie Brown has found the peace and truth he was seeking.