About Christmas TV History

Friday, July 24, 2015

Christmas TV Party 2015: Stephen J. Lind, Ph.D.

Christmas TV Party: Stephen J. Lind, Ph.D., author of the book A Charlie Brown Religion: Exploring the Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M. Schulz

1) What Christmas program/movie have you seen more times than any other?
A Charlie Brown Christmas, by a Schulzian mile.  It is easily my favorite TV-anything to watch, and I do so frequently.  It was also one of the most fun chapters to write in my upcoming book about Peanuts - "A Charlie Brown Religion: Exploring the Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M. Schulz" ---- Available now for pre-order! ;)


2) What is your favorite musical Christmas TV special, variety performance, or holiday song in a movie?
Where Are You Christmas is at least one of my favorite holiday songs in a movie.  I'll admit that I didn't warm up to the Grinch's live-action debut as much as I wanted to, but that song, particularly Faith Hill's version from the soundtrack, is just so moving, and memorable, and meaningful.  It's the type of song that gets stuck in your head, and it's one of the few that I rather enjoy when it does.


3) What's your favorite TV or movie adaptation of Dickens' Christmas Carol?
My first instinct is to say The Muppet Christmas Carol, but I quite thoroughly enjoy Mickey's Christmas Carol as well.  Of course Disney has a deep and archetypal bench, but the cast of characters fits so authentically well into the story that you almost wouldn't know that it was an adaptation.


4) What do you think is the worst Christmas program/movie--or your least favorite, the most disappointing or most overrated?
Holster your Red Ryders... but A Christmas Story.  I never really connected with the characters, the vibe, or the tempo.

5) If you were asked to give advice to a TV network executive in charge of holiday programming, what would you suggest?
The season has inherent religious roots.  And most viewers are okay with that.  Not everyone shares the view that exploring Christ's birth is important, but a LOT of viewers do. Statistically, a crazy lot. Yet a surprisingly small statistical number of holiday programs have meaningful (let alone creative, or fun, or original, or thought-provoking) and sustained religious content.  It's not that execs don't know about viewers' spiritual interests... some just seem to forget more often than not.


  1. A great write-up. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Some one else shares my neutral feeling towards A Christmas Story...I just don't get it! I think it's one of those things that if you haven't seen a million times when you were little, you're just not going to get it now.

  3. Really enjoyed your answers, Stephen... "A Charlie Brown Christmas", "Mickey's Christmas Carol", "Where Are You Christmas", etc... and I so agree with the "religious root" of Christmas!

    Congrats on your Book... I just checked it out on Amazon's site and it looks really interesting. :)

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    2. Thanks! I really enjoy thinking about (and watching) Christmas programs this time of year... And of course I am very excited about the book! I am hoping to do some book signings here and there this Christmas season too :)

  4. That Faith Hill song is quite beautifully sung.

  5. It's impossible to imagine A Charlie Brown Christmas without Linus' speech. I'm looking forward to reading your upcoming book. Thanks for participating.

    1. Agreed! And thanks! I am quite excited for the pre-orders to roll out in November.

      And I love this blog party - thanks for hosting it :)