Christmas Time Is Here

Album: A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Charted: 41
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This piano-based piece has become a Christmas favorite thanks to its use on the 1965 TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas, where the Peanuts characters sing the song. The vocal version runs 2:47, while an instrumental version goes 6:07.

    Vince Guaraldi, who composed the tune, also wrote the score for the special, which is the famous Peanuts theme music (the song is actually called "Linus and Lucy"). 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.
  • Originally, this was an instrumental piece that Vince Guaraldi wrote to open A Charlie Brown Christmas. About a month before it aired, Lee Mendelson, who produced the special, decided it might work better with some words, so he wrote the lyric in about 10 minutes sitting at his kitchen table. "It was a poem that just came to me," he told PRI in 2014. "Never changed the words to this day. It was only about a minute long."
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas used real children (mostly culled from producer Lee Mendelson's neighborhood) 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 - "Christmas Time Is Here" is sung by a group of kids Vince Guaraldi put together.
  • This was used in the movie The Royal Tenenbaums and as the "sad" theme on the TV show Arrested Development. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2
  • Dwight Schrute is not a fan of this tune. In The Office episode "Christmas Wishes" (2011) he angrily calls it garbage and starts playing Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24" instead.

Comments: 5

  • Randy from Houghton Lake, MiI had just turned 10 years old when "A Charlie Brown Christmas" first aired. This song takes me right back to that time. It makes me feel nostalgic and a little melancholy because Christmas will never be like it was back then. I can listen to this, close my eyes and remember...
  • Camille from Toronto, OhJust a lovely, lilting tune. From one of my favorite albums of all time, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. I play the CD in my car at Christmas time every year.
  • Bob from Cincinnati, OhRosemary Clooney sings it in the opening track of the compilation album "A Concord Jazz Christmas" (Volume 1). She sings it quite beautifully in the same key, at the same tempo and in the same tone as the original version. The album also features other fine 'n jazzy renditions of mostly traditional Christmas songs by various artists.
  • Aaron from Syracuse, NyThis song is slightly sampled in a cover of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by a band Copeland.
  • Sara from Silver Spring, MdMany artists have sung this song including Kenny Loggins and Diana Krall.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"

Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"They're Playing My Song

The first of Billy's five #1 hits was the song that propelled Madonna to stardom. You'd think that would get you a backstage pass, wouldn't you?

The 10 Bands Most Like Spinal Tap

The 10 Bands Most Like Spinal TapSong Writing

Based on criteria like girlfriend tension, stage mishaps and drummer turnover, these are the 10 bands most like Spinal Tap.

Emilio Castillo from Tower of Power

Emilio Castillo from Tower of PowerSongwriter Interviews

Emilio talks about what it's like to write and perform with the Tower of Power horns, and why every struggling band should have a friend like Huey Lewis.

Eric Clapton

Eric ClaptonFact or Fiction

Did Eric Clapton really write "Cocaine" while on cocaine? This question and more in the Clapton edition of Fact or Fiction.

David Bowie Leads the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men

David Bowie Leads the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired MenSong Writing

Bowie's "activist" days of 1964 led to Ziggy Stardust.

Gary Louris of The Jayhawks

Gary Louris of The JayhawksSongwriter Interviews

The Jayhawks' song "Big Star" has special meaning to Gary, who explains how longevity and inspiration have trumped adulation.