Christmas Music

When they sang a slow rendition of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” it sounded like my childhood coming to life. I closed my eyes and could almost see the 1965 Charlie Brown special playing in my mind.

I hope you listen to some Charlie Brown Christmas music this year. And I hope you love every second of it like I do.

Today, I watched a children’s choir in the mall. They were singing Charlie Brown Christmas music for a crowd of proud parents and onlookers.

One little boy was dressed like Snoopy. Another was dressed like Woodstock.

When they sang a slow rendition of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” it sounded like my entire childhood coming to life. I closed my eyes and could almost see the 1965 Charlie Brown special, playing in my mind.

Afterward, I saw my friend’s son, Adam. He was in the choir. Adam has Down syndrome, and a heart the size of North Dakota.

He threw his arms around me. He said, “Hey! Thanks for coming! I love you, Sean! Do you know that?”

As a matter of fact, Adam has told me this a lot.

Next, a ten-year-old girl squeezed me. Then another kid. Then another. Then Snoopy. Then Peppermint Patty. Soon, I was being hugged by thirty-four kids in Christmas regalia.

See what I mean? That’s the unbridled power of a Charlie Brown Christmas.

After they finished, they attacked other adult victims like a virus. The people reacted to the hugs the same way I did. Some laughed. Some blushed. But everyone was warmed.

Later, I wandered upstairs to the mall bookstore, just to kill time. I selected a book to read from the five-dollar bin.

This is where things got weird.

The first thing I saw was a book of Peanuts comic strips. While I thumbed through the book of funnies, Charlie Brown Christmas music started playing over the intercom AT THE SAME TIME.

So I bought the comic book, even though I already own it. The cashier asked if I wanted it gift-wrapped for an extra dollar.

“Why not?” I said.

She wrapped it in shiny paper, and placed a ribbon around it.

Then, I walked through the mall, feeling like a million bucks.

I ran into a man I used to know a long time ago. I hardly recognized him. He didn’t look like himself. He’s lost a lot of weight.

Once, we worked on a landscaping crew together. He ran the edgers, I ran the mowers.

We shook hands. I asked how he’d been. He said that life hasn’t been so good. And the details don’t matter, but let’s just say he’s going through a rough patch.

“This holiday season ain’t been fun,” he said. “I’ve even started seeing a therapist, man, I’m a wreck.”

He didn’t start crying or anything—landscapers don’t do that. But I could tell these past few years have taken a lot out of him.

So I handed him a small, gift-wrapped book I happened to be carrying.

“What’s this?” he asked.

“Something I want you to have.”

“This some kinda joke?”

“Don’t read it all in one sitting. You’re have to savor them or they lose their impact.”


That’s when I looked over the balcony and saw the children’s choir below us. They were all heading toward the exit with their parents like the Children of Israel.

I had an idea.

“Hey,” I asked my buddy. “You have a few seconds?”

“For what?” he said.

“It’ll be really quick, I promise.”

“WHAT will be quick?”

“Come with me, and you’ll find out.”

He glanced at his watch. “Man, I wish I could, but I’m kinda in a hurry.”

“Fair enough,” I said. “But if you don’t come with me I’m going to push you down the escalator.”

We rushed downstairs and followed the second-graders into the parking lot. I introduced my friend to a handful of rosy-cheeked children with big smiles.

Then I asked the kids—actually, I bribed them—to sing a few Charlie Brown songs for us.

The children obliged. They fell into formation and sang, “Little Drummer Boy,” then “Christmas Time is Here.”

My friend and I applauded after each tune.

Afterward, the child-sized troops hugged my friend like they’d hugged me earlier. The kids attached to him like the measles.

Adam was first to lead the attack. Schroeder and Pig Pen followed next. It was a mass hug of comic proportions.

So anyway, that’s what I’m thinking about while I write this. About hugs, singing kids, old friends, and people who are sad but keep wearing fake smiles.

I don’t know where you find yourself tonight. I don’t know whether you are happy or blue. You might not know me, and you might not want to, either. But this stranger stayed up late writing a ridiculous collection of words just to tell you this:

You’re going to get through this. And that’s not an opinion.

Now quick, go find something Charlie Brown as fast as you can.

Merry Christmas.


  1. Gaylia Annette Hancock - December 17, 2018 6:44 am

    Wish I could have been there, I love the way kids can react.

  2. Cathi - December 17, 2018 7:07 am

    Thank you Sean. I stayed up way beyond my bedtime & got to read this. And it made me smile. And now I need to see the Charlie Brown Christmas special again.

  3. rantsandravescom - December 17, 2018 7:29 am

    Sean, you have a kind heart. You and the children gave an depressed man a wonderful gift. The birth of the child we celebrate when He became a man said that we should love as children do. Thank you for this story. Have a blessed Christmas.

  4. Steve Winfield - December 17, 2018 8:03 am

    I’m going out on a limb & saying that’s one of the best Christmas gifts of his life. And the book is a bonus.

  5. Pamela McEachern - December 17, 2018 8:42 am

    I hope you and Jamie have a wonderful Christmas with the pups, you make a difference in so many lives each day. What a gift you have given us…Charlie Brown

    Peace and Love from Birmingham

  6. Kelly - December 17, 2018 12:35 pm

    Charlie Brown is my favorite and I watched the Christmas special last night as I have for every year of my 54 years. My niece gave me a Charlie Brown calendar last year and every day has had the exact right message to make me laugh or speak to my heart. You ran into your friend at the exact right moment and gave him a very special gift. You are a good man, Sean Dietrich. Merry Christmas?

  7. Diane Mark - December 17, 2018 12:37 pm

    Well, you just made me smile and warmed my heart ❤️ Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences as they always brighten my day?

  8. Susan Bradshaw - December 17, 2018 12:49 pm

    Charlie Brown has lifted my spirits on many of down days. You just help me start my day with a smile. I can hear those children singing!

  9. Patricia A Schmaltz - December 17, 2018 12:58 pm

    I have read that a person NEEDS 12 hugs a day to be completely healthy! If I ever see you; you’re getting one! Thank you.

  10. Mike Guilday - December 17, 2018 1:00 pm

    Sean, I needed that this morning, going through a rough couple of months. I could hear those children singing. Thank you

  11. Kelly - December 17, 2018 1:00 pm

    You can’t beat Charlie Brown Christmas. Thank you so much for the reminder, Sean, and I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

  12. Marilyn - December 17, 2018 1:23 pm

    You gave your friend a beautiful gift from your heart, and in turn you shared it with us. What a blessing! Your thoughtful words help start my day in a positive way. You make a difference……

  13. Karen - December 17, 2018 1:40 pm

    I can hear them singing “Christmas time is here…”
    You are a beautiful soul. ??

  14. Gloria Knight - December 17, 2018 1:59 pm

    You can’t help loving old Charlie Brown. We bought every book for our son and now the his kids love them too.
    My morning is not complete until I have read Charlie Brown and Garfield the Cat…’em!

  15. Catherine - December 17, 2018 2:04 pm

    Just a simple yes to this. Merry Christmas to you, Sean~you bring so much heart to this world, and to that sweet girl to whom you are privileged to give love pats, and to your much loved fur babies. You are loved.

  16. Judy - December 17, 2018 2:10 pm

    You are the best. Thank you, Sean.

  17. Valerie - December 17, 2018 2:21 pm

    It’s Monday morning, around 8 am with coffee in hand reading your gift to us all with Good Morning America in the background. And low and behold, Charlie Brown comes on their segment!! Yep, it was weird, but it made me smile and that’s how a Monday morning should start. Thank you Sean!!! BTW, apparently the network plans to bring back a lot of Charlie Brown,,,,I’m elated

    • Agnes Spurlock - December 17, 2018 2:24 pm

      I look forward to your posts everyday, but today almost made me feel like I was there in the parking lot with those little kids. Just wish I had been so I could have been on the receiving end of their hugs. Merry Christmas, Sean.

  18. Phillip Saunders - December 17, 2018 2:22 pm

    Sean, I have said a prayer for your landscaper friend. We all need those songs of cheer and loving hugs from kids. We also need more Charles Schulzes in the world (and more Sean Dietrichs).

  19. Charles Mathers - December 17, 2018 2:28 pm

    Thank you, Sean! Love, Santa??

  20. Carol - December 17, 2018 2:37 pm

    I missed it the other night. Gee I hope it comes back now!!
    I get sad this time of year. So I usually avoid all the signing!
    But I’ll try to do better , because you asked me to .
    Love ya!

  21. Pat McCutchin - December 17, 2018 2:56 pm

    This one is a classic, Sean! Thank you for putting these hectic days into perspective. Merriest of Christmasses to you; keep writing!

  22. Connie Havard Ryland - December 17, 2018 3:14 pm

    That’s my favorite Christmas special. I’m gonna have to see if I can stream it, since I missed it. I love Christmas music of all kinds.

  23. theholtgirls - December 17, 2018 3:28 pm

    Carol, here is the soundtrack:
    Just so you’ll know, you are LOVED like crazy! Merry Christmas!

    Thank you, Sean, for your gifts and for your presence! A Charlie Brown Christmas, the full 1969 movie, can be seen on YouTube also. Linus preaches my favorite sermon!

  24. Ann Rigell - December 17, 2018 3:56 pm

    Thank you. Great message and super opportunity to share.

  25. Roy Parker - December 17, 2018 4:37 pm

    WEAR, the Pensacola affiliate of ABC will air Charlie Brown Christmas on Thur. Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. I have watched it since its premiere when I was 10. Studio execs tried to get Charles Schultz to remove the Linus biblical rendition of the Christmas story, but he refused. Thank you for your story, Sean. I could literally hear the music as I was reading about it. There’s nothing better than Christmas carols sung by a children’s choir. Thank you and God bless you.

  26. Betty - December 17, 2018 4:45 pm

    I didn’t have to look far to find something of Charlie Brown. We have a Charlie Brown perpetual calendar on our computer desk & have had it for many years & just keep reading it again & again. I use Charlie Brown characters on our return address labels & have Charlie Brown character seals to put on the corner of the envelope. Love everything about all those characters….. and you, Sean!

  27. Pat - December 17, 2018 4:46 pm

    That God Wink you received in the book store…I just got one from you! Words I need to hear, just in the nick of time.
    “I love you Sean, do you know that”.

  28. Marcia MacLean, Lynn Haven - December 17, 2018 4:56 pm

    Coincidence? I think not. To have a friend you have to be a friend. That’s why you are blessed with so many.

  29. Haskel J P - December 17, 2018 5:39 pm

    Well done Sean. And how lucky we are for a Charlie Brown Christmas with Linus reciting what Christmas is all about and Vince Guaraldi with his wonderful musical composition. What a talent Shultz and Guaraldi were.

  30. Edna B. - December 17, 2018 6:41 pm

    Sean, you are a gift, to all of us. I love Charlie Brown too and watch him every year. I don’t think it was a coincidence that you ran into your old friend. It was needed and meant to be. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  31. Emily Kistler - December 17, 2018 7:02 pm

    Dear Sean; I am an 80 year old that loves each word you write. Thank you so much. I am blessed with a wonderful family that I love to forward many of your writings to. They are all ages and descriptions and we are touched by you in so many ways. Thank you. Emily K.

  32. Shelton A. - December 17, 2018 7:03 pm

    Everyone needs hugs and they cure almost anything. Merry Christmas.

  33. Montana Mamma - December 17, 2018 7:11 pm

    Thank you, Sean. I just found an old “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” with Vince Lombardi – had set it aside, and now I know why! Bless you, and may your holidays be filled with the warmth of family, friends and love. Montana Mamma

  34. Dell - December 17, 2018 9:24 pm

    Thanks, I needed that. First Christmas without my son being with us. I’m trying to be understanding due to this being their first Christmas being married. It’s hard….

  35. June - December 17, 2018 10:16 pm

    Merry Christmas Sean!

  36. Linda - December 17, 2018 11:24 pm

    Thank you for this one Sean

  37. Sylvia Holt - December 18, 2018 2:31 am

    Thank you Sean. I needed this.

  38. Michael Hawke - December 18, 2018 3:43 am

    And a Merry Christmas to you. It’s not Christmas for me until the Peanuts gang hits the screen. That’s Thursday night. May God bless.

  39. that's jack - December 18, 2018 3:53 am

    Your word: Good!

  40. Gina Ireland - December 18, 2018 5:01 am

    Nothing our God does is an accident. I think Charlie understood that as well as you. Merry Christmas!

  41. Judy in WNC - December 18, 2018 3:38 pm

    The music director at my church has a window clings of Charlie Brown on his office window at Christmas. And when we wear Christmas sweaters to ring handbells at the nursing home, his always has Snoopy on it. So, when you said to find something Charlie Brown, I thought of that window cling. And the DVD of Charlie Brown Christmas is in my stack of “must-watch”.

  42. C.E. HARBIN - December 19, 2018 9:06 pm

    thank you.

  43. Marjorie - December 20, 2018 12:33 am

    Merry Christmas Sean and to your family and friends.

  44. Martha - December 20, 2019 5:12 am

    Mass Huggings! What a wonderful gift! I bet your friend is glad he ran into you! May he feel warmed & lifted & loved & renewed!
    Thanks for taking him to the huggers.
    We need to stage more of those……….
    Just random mass huggings!

  45. Cynthia - December 20, 2019 5:27 am

    This was lovely, Sean. Made me wish that you were my live and in-person friend, instead of just a reader. Thanks for writing this.

  46. Alice Roose - December 20, 2019 12:15 pm

    What a sweet story Sean !Merry Christmas to you and yours I love you God bless you


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