How to Watch ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ Free on Streaming

Image: Apple TV+

In what’s become a holiday tradition (and in the wake of free viewing windows for the Peanuts Halloween and Thanksgiving specials), A Charlie Brown Christmas will be streaming free on Apple TV+ on Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17.

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If you’re an Apple TV+ subscriber, of course, you can watch it any time of year, but non-subscribers will need to take advantage if they want to watch the special free of charge. First aired by CBS on December 9, 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas was written by Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz and directed by Bill Melendez (who also “voices” Snoopy); it won a Peabody Award and an Emmy and was a perennial broadcast staple around the holidays until Apple TV+ picked up the rights in 2020.

The soundtrack features signature tunes like Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmas Time Is Here” and “Linus and Lucy,” as well as traditional Christmas songs and a little Beethoven, for the Schroeder fans. The story features Charlie Brown—who’s been unexpectedly tapped to direct the local Christmas pageant—despairing in the face of holiday commercialism, including Snoopy’s quest to win a decorating contest (which he does, naturally). Though its overt Biblical content feels a little surprising in 2023, its underlying message is more about finding togetherness during the holidays, with the help of one particularly threadbare Christmas tree—probably the most iconic image from the special’s 58-year history.

If you miss the free window, A Charlie Brown Christmas is on Apple TV+ year-round.

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