This will be the second year to visit the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree located on the Palisades Village Green.
This triangular little private park, located between Sunset Boulevard, Swarthmore Avenue and Antioch, has had Christmas lights on the pine tree almost every year since it was planted, since the park’s creation in 1973.
The tree grew and grew – and then volunteers could no longer hang the lights, so firefighters from Station 69 helped place lights on the tree with the help of the hook-and-ladder.
But, in 2018, vandals destroyed the electrical line and lights. It would have cost nearly $1,000 to fix the line and nearly $2,000 to restring it.
Since the park, a nonprofit, is open to residents and is funded entirely by donations from residents, members of the Village Green Board decided not to decorate it. (All residents are welcomed to join, visit: palisadesvillagegreen.org).
But board members didn’t want the season to go unmarked, so last year Marge Gold came up with the idea for a Charlie Brown tree.
“We always called the tree we decorated our Charlie Brown tree,” Gold said, “Why not put up an actual Charlie Brown tree?”
A Charlie Brown tree was ordered online for $11 and placed on the Green. The two handmade ceramic figurines were made by Madolyn Sailor.
“My mother, who was a very talented ceramist, poured and painted them and made them for my children, more than 50 years ago,” Gold said.
The animated television special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” aired in 1965 and continues to air every year because of its uplifting message.
The story, written by Charles Shultz, starts with Charlie Brown, who feels depressed about the Christmas season. He seeks out Lucy at her psychiatric booth. She tells him she can relate because she always gets toys for Christmas and never the gift she really wants: real estate. She advises him to get involved in a nativity play.
On the way to the auditorium, Charlie sees his dog Snoopy decorating his doghouse in over-the-top fashion, and hears Sally read her Christmas list of gifts (and if that fails, she says, just “tens and twenties”).
At the rehearsal, Charlie Brown is sent out to get a Christmas tree, maybe a “great big, shiny aluminum tree. . .maybe painted pink.”
Instead, he selects a tiny tree at the lot, a sad and overlooked tree, and decides it will be perfect.
Arriving back at the auditorium, Charlie is scorned for the choice. He takes it home and starts to decorate it, to show others how it can work. When he places a red bulb on the tree, which he has borrowed from Snoopy’s abundance of decorations, the ornament bends the tree to the ground.
Eventually the other characters understand that the importance of Christmas isn’t tied up in commercialism. When Schulz wrote the story, he said his goal was to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
Stop by and admire the Charlie Brown tree and if you want to give a gift, the Village Green needs to raise money to trim the trees in the little park. “We have the pine tree, the five evergreen pears and three Tipus,” Gold said. “It seems we have our own urban forest.”