Christmas in the 1960s: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Religion, and the Conventions of the Television Genre

  • Author(s): Stephen J. Lind
  • When: 2014-03
  • Where: Journal of Religion and Popular Culture
  • This study of Christmas television programming from the 1960s is prompted by the repeated assertion that A Charlie Brown Christmas was an aberration within the television medium because its creator, Charles Schulz, dared to include religious content in the mainstream title. Grounded by historical/archival research, this article presents a content analysis of Christmas titles from the 1960s formative decade-of-change in order to substantiate the claim of television’s secularity. The findings demonstrate that even in the genre of Christmas programming, mainstream television has abided by a public/private split from this early era, embracing a model of secularity that resists references to religious belief. A Charlie Brown Christmas and its contemporaries are also analyzed to determine the conventions of the genre that may at times afford such religious aberration when otherwise followed.

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