|Single by The Royal Guardsmen|
|B-side||"It Kinda Looks Like Christmas"|
|Label||Laurie LR 3416|
|Writer(s)||George David Weiss, Hugo & Luigi|
"Snoopy's Christmas" is a song performed by The Royal Guardsmen in 1967. It continues to be played as a holiday favorite on most "oldie" radio stations; however, it is also often played on radio stations playing a Hit Music format as well as Adult Contemporary format stations. While these stations wouldn't normally play music from this era radio stations will make exceptions to mix certain Christmas songs with the usual playlist during the Holiday period. Due to a chart department policy instituted by Billboard magazine,[clarification needed] the "Snoopy's Christmas" single never appeared in the Hot 100. It was, however, shown at #1 on a specialty list called "Best Bets For Christmas". Cash Box magazine peaked the song at #10. The publication Record World peaked the song at #17.
The song subsequently appeared on the album Snoopy and His Friends.
A followup to their earlier "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron", the song is about how Snoopy had to go out and fight the Red Baron on Christmas Eve. The Baron has Snoopy at his mercy after a long dogfight but, instead of shooting him down he forces Snoopy to land and offers Snoopy a holiday toast. Afterward, Snoopy and the Red Baron fly their separate ways, "each knowing they'd meet on some other day".
The release begins with a male chorus singing the German yuletide classic "O Tannenbaum" ("O Christmas Tree"), and the middle of the song is bridged by chimes ringing out a phrase from "Hark the Herald Angels Sing". The chimes can also can be heard during the fade out at the end of the song.
Although fictitious, the song is set against the backdrop of a legitimate historical event. During World War I, in 1914, "The Christmas Truce" was initiated not by German and British commanders, but by the soldiers themselves. The length of the cease-fire varied by location, and was reported to have been as brief as Christmas Day or as long as the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. Trench-bound combatants exchanged small gifts across the lines, with Germans giving beer to the British, who sent tobacco and tinned meat back in return. No Man's Land was cleared of dead bodies, trenches were repaired and drained, and troops from both sides shared pictures of their families and, in some places, used No Man's Land for friendly games of football. The song even has the initiator correct as it was generally the German soldiers who called over to the British and initiated the truce and, in the song, it is the Red Baron—a German WWI hero—who extends the hand of Christmas friendship to Snoopy.
Popularity in New Zealand and Australia
"Snoopy's Christmas" reached the number one position in the New Zealand and Australia singles charts in 1967, and remains a popular Christmas song in those countries. The song was the fastest-selling single at the time it was originally released and is estimated to be the biggest selling overseas single sold in New Zealand in the 20th century. The song frequently reenters the New Zealand singles chart, charting in December 1987, 1988, 1989 and 2013. "Snoopy's Christmas" was also voted "the worst Christmas song of all time" by readers of the New Zealand Herald in 2007.
Century Commemoration of historical origin
In 2014, a New Zealand member of The International Military Music Society and The Passchendaele Society, Gavin Marriott of Christchurch, came up with an idea of commemorating the centenary of the historical origins of this song. It was promoted to play or sing 'Snoopy's Christmas' before Christmas dinner in people's homes in honour of an event which could have changed the world. A reading has been suggested for people in conjunction with the playing of this song. As an alternative he suggested people could sing 'Silent Night' ... "This song reminds us before our Christmas feast, that a century ago today, soldiers, as depicted in this song, lay down their arms in Flanders Belgium for a truce, in the spirit of the Christmas we now all enjoy today. If allowed to continue, this truce could have meant 100,000 New Zealanders not going to war and there may not be 18,000 of those not returning. This song reminds us of the sacrifice of those that did go, so we can enjoy this song, this day a century on and our Christmas feast.”
- "Christmas Carols - Snoopy's Christmas Lyrics". Metrolyrics.com. Retrieved 2011-12-06.
- "Snoopy's Christmas The Royal Guardsmen". M.songfacts.com. 1996-08-20. Retrieved 2011-12-06.
- "HELLFIRE CORNER - The Christmas Truce - 1914". Fylde.demon.co.uk. 1914-12-24. Retrieved 2011-12-06.
- Hughes, Alistair (19 December 2013). "Snoopy still flying at Christmas". Dominion Post (Fairfax). Retrieved 9 December 2014.
- "THE ROYAL GUARDSMEN - SNOOPY'S CHRISTMAS (SONG)". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
- "Snoopy's Christmas 'worst Christmas song of all time'". NZ Herald (APN). 18 December 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2014.