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How and where to stream 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' this year

Good grief! The "Peanuts" special won't air on network TV in 2023, but here's how to watch it all season long.

Charlie Brown and the "Peanuts" gang have been a collective part of our holidays since "A Charlie Brown Christmas" first debuted back in 1965.

Since that time, watching the animated special has become a beloved Christmas tradition for many families and rightfully so.

The classic Christmas movie's timeless message of love and true meaning of the season, still manages to bring a tear to the eye when Charlie, Lucy, Sally, Linus and the rest of the kids gather around the tree and sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing."

And speaking of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, there's no doubt, it's earned a permanent place in our hearts.

If the holiday movie is on your watchlist this year and you're wondering where to stream “A Charlie Brown Christmas," you should know right up front that things have changed since the days when the special aired annually on network and public television. And, unfortunately, you aren't going to find it on Netflix, Hulu or Disney either.

There's only one place to watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in 2023 and we've got the details on how and where to watch it for free this year, along with a few fun trivia facts about the Christmas special to help fill your cup with a little extra holiday cheer.

Where to watch 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'

In 2023, the only place to watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is on Apple TV+.

In 2018, Apple acquired the rights to "A Charlie Brown Christmas," along with the rest of the "Peanuts" catalog including other classics like "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving."

To watch the animated TV special this year, you’ll need a subscription to Apple TV+. That said, the streaming service will be offering non-subscribers a free window in which to catch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and we've got the specifics below.

How to watch 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' for free in 2023

Fortunately, even if you don’t have a subscription to Apple TV+, you can still catch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” when Apple offers non-subscribers a free window to stream the special.

In 2023, that window occurs on Saturday, Dec. 16 and Sunday, Dec. 17.

If you're unable to watch that weekend, you can still watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" by signing up for Apple TV+'s 7-day free trial.

What is 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' about?

The first of many animated specials made from Charles Schulz’s comic strip “Peanuts,” the story follows Charlie Brown as he searches for the meaning of Christmas.

Feeling depressed over how materialistic the holiday has become, Charlie Brown agrees to direct a Christmas pageant but is mocked by his friends after he picks a humble Christmas tree that everyone considers a "disaster."

All ends well when Charlie and the rest of the Peanuts gang realizes that Christmas isn’t about glitzy decorations or a fancy tree at all, but the love of friends and family.

'A Charlie Brown Christmas' trivia

If "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is one of your favorites, here are a few bits of trivia you might not know about the Christmas classic.

  • When "A Charlie Brown Christmas" premiered on Dec. 9, 1965, roughly half of the United States tuned in to watch.
  • "A Charlie Brown Christmas" producer Lee Mendelson wanted to add a laugh track to the animated feature, but creator Charles Schulz refused.
  • Despite concerns over alienating the viewing audience, Charles Schulz insisted on having Linus recite a passage from the Gospel of Luke.
  • According to Recording Industry Association of America, the Vince Guaraldi Trio's soundtrack to "A Charlie Brown Christmas" has sold more than 5 million copies to date.
  • In 2011, Vince Guaraldi’s iconic soundtrack for “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was inducted into the Library of Congress Music Registry for its cultural significance.
  • In 1966, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" won an Emmy for Outstanding Children's Program.
  • To make the "Peanuts" characters believable in "A Charlie Brown Christmas," Charles Schulz insisted that child actors do the voice-overs.