(On a side note, I may be extra partial to the Peanuts gang simply because their creator, Charles M. Schultz, went to my high school. He was pretty much our one claim to fame, so we have to be a little extra proud of him, right?)
But this year things are a little different as I can now share the memories, laughs and traditions with my own kids any time we want with the release of the Peanuts Holiday Collection and Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales from Warner Home Video.
Recently released on Blu-ray hi-def format for the first time, the Peanuts Holiday Collection features a set of three of the most popular Peanuts seasonal classics (mixed with lots of bonus episodes) in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack containing both types of discs. I love being able to have both available in one case so that depending on where you are (for example watching a portable DVD player, riding in the car or sitting in the comfort of your living room) and the player available, you can still enjoy these great tales.
In the Emmy Award-winning special A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Peppermint Patty invites herself to Charlie Brown's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Marcie and Franklin are soon added as dinner guests but Charlie Brown admits that his culinary skills are limited to "cold cereal and maybe toast."
Snoopy and Woodstock transform the ping-pong table in the backyard into a dinner table and, as guests arrive, they are served things like buttered toast, pretzel sticks and jelly beans. Patty is outraged at the meal and berates Charlie Brown until he leaves the table. In the end, apologizes are made and Charlie Brown's grandmother comes to the rescue by inviting the group to her house for a real Thanksgiving meal.
Nominated for an Emmy Award, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown finds the gang outfitted in costumes, ready for trick-or-treating and crashing Violet's Halloween party. Having cut too many eyeholes out than necessary, Charlie Brown makes a fitting ghost while Lucy is dressed as a witch and Snoopy is his classic World War I flying ace. Linus, however, steadfastly holds vigil in the pumpkin patch as he awaits the arrival of the one and only Great Pumpkin.
Finally, A Charlie Brown Christmas (an Emmy and Peabody Award winning classic) features Charlie Brown upset by how commercial the Christmas holiday has become. To coax him out of his holiday blues, Lucy suggests he direct the school's Christmas pageant and decorate a glorious tree. But, in true Charlie Brown style, the tree he ends up finding is small and that leads to ridicule from his friends.
Along with the three main shows, the Peanuts Holiday Collection includes great bonus episodes, many of which I was completely unfamiliar. The Mayflower Voyagers features the Peanuts kids as pilgrims sailing to the New World, It's Magic, Charlie Brown finds Snoopy performing a variety of magic tricks and in It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown the entire crew appears in a Christmas pageant.
Retailing for $42.93, the Peanuts Holiday Collection captures these three classic tales as well as the fun bonus features in one beautiful collection that can easily be pulled out and enjoyed. No matter if you watch DVDs or Blu-ray, if you're a Peanuts fan, this is the set for you.
Available separately on DVD, Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales (retailing for $14.97) is comprised of a series of animated vignettes that each showcase a different member of the gang. Each of the five segments are full of unforgettable Christmas moments such as Snoopy working as as a bell-ringer to raise money and trying to make peace with the ferocious cat next door or Lucy trying awfully hard to be nice while still coaxing everyone around her to buy her presents.
This DVD also features the rarely seen Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown? which goes in a slightly difference direction and focuses on Linus and Lucy moving away when their father is transferred to a job in another town. How will the gang survive?
All in all, both of these collections are a great way to be able to watch classic Peanuts episodes wherever and whenever you choose. Viewing these with my girls, I did notice quite a bit more "stupid dog" and "one more step and I'll punch your lights out" type of comments that I wasn't overly happy with Big Sister E repeating, but hopefully as they get older we can continue to enjoy Charlie Brown as a family. It's tradition, after all!
(Other than the Peanuts Holiday Collection Blu-ray/DVD and Charlie Brown's Christmas DVD that I was provided by Warner Home Video, I was not compensated or enticed or to do this review in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion of these DVDs and their contents.)