I Know That Christmas Song! The Story Behind "Christmas Time Is Here"

Today’s song was composed by jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi to accompany the opening of the 1965 television special A Charlie Brown Christmas. It was originally written as an instrumental, but producers decided to compose lyrics for the song. 

So one of them sat down with an envelope at his kitchen table and wrote this song in about ten minutes. And then Vince Guaraldi got a bunch of little kids together to sing it.

A Charlie Brown Christmas used real children (mostly pulled from show producer's various neighborhoods ) to voice the characters in the special, so the voices on this song are also kids. They are not the same group of children though. The vocals for the song were provided by the children's choir at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in San Rafael, California.

Using jazz in a children's special was very unusual, but it was a brilliant choice, helping the special appeal to both kids and adults.

Today’s song remains a popular Christmas song decades after its release; one critic wrote "If it wasn’t already a standard that first time it was played, it is now the very definition." The song has also charted on the Holiday 100, reaching number 17 in 2017, over 50 years after its original release.

But not EVERYONE loves it…Dwight Schrute, in The Office episode called "Christmas Wishes" (2011) he angrily calls it garbage and starts playing Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24" instead.

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