Your present from the virtual gift bag that is YouTube.
Is there anything more quintessentially representative of the American holiday season, at least in regards to media, than the holy triumvirate of television specials formed by It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas? Spoiler alert: there is not. For half a century the Peanuts characters have been entertaining and educating American youth on the virtues of friendship, honesty and the imagination, in turn making them among the most beloved in our country’s pop cultural history.
To fans of Stranger Things, that last bit might sound a little familiar. The children at the center of the Netflix series share a lot in common with Charlie Brown and his crew: their friendship is priority one, honesty binds them, and their imaginations are active and vibrant. In Stranger Things, this imaginative behavior is depicted at first as distancing the kids from the real world, but in time it comes to help them accept the impossibilities spilling into their world from The Upside Down. And again, in the process, they’ve become one of the most instantly-beloved child ensembles in recent memory, maybe since The Goonies.
Naturally, then, someone in our comparative culture was bound to blend the worlds of Peanuts and Stranger Things. That someone is YouTuber OnlyLeigh, who has given us all a holiday present with Merry Christmas, Will Byers, a short animated mash-up that nails the look and feel of a Peanuts special using the characters from Stranger Things, including the titular Will Byers, who gets more screen-time here than he did practically in all of the first season of the series . He’s in the Charlie Brown role – anxious blockhead – and Eleven assumes the mantle of Lucy, child psychologist. Dustin fills Linus’ role as the confidant and Mike replaces Schroeder on the keys. And of course, everyone’s favorite – beloved Barb – makes a brief appearance.
So pour yourself a nice tall mug of eggnog, stoke the fire until it’s burning hot and bright, then snuggle up to this new classic that delivers all the holiday feels, and a Demogorgon to boot.