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December 21, 2022

'A Charlie Brown Christmas' won't be on TV this year. Here's how to stream it for free

The iconic holiday special can be seen on Apple TV+ from Dec. 22 to Dec. 25. Anyone with an Apple ID can watch it, even if they don't subscribe to the service

TV Christmas
Charlie Brown Christmas Apple TV+ Source/Apple TV+

'A Charlie Brown Christmas' is streaming exlusively on Apple TV+ in 2022. The iconic special will be free to watch between Dec. 22-25.

The tradition of watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas" will be a little bit different this year for those who are used to watching the holiday classic on PBS. The 25-minute special will be available exclusively on Apple TV+, but people can access it even if they do not subscribe to the streaming platform.

Ever since Apple acquired the rights to the "Peanuts" cartoons starring Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and other iconic characters, the company has pushed to limit various holiday specials to its own streaming service. Pushback from fans kept commercial-free versions of the holiday specials on PBS stations last year, but the network announced in October that it would not happen again for the beloved Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas episodes.

But that doesn't mean it will be difficult to see "A Charlie Brown Christmas" this year.

For people who have an Apple TV+ subscription, the entire "Peanuts" catalog can be viewed on demand year-round.

Those without Apple TV+ subscriptions have a couple of options.

From Dec. 22 through Dec. 25, anyone with an Apple ID can stream "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for free by logging into an Apple account. People who own Apple devices already have Apple IDs, but it's also possible to create one for free without needing a credit card to sign up.

Once an Apple ID has been created, the special can be found on the Apple TV+ app by using a smart TV, smartphone, laptop or desktop computer with the app installed. The platform is available on all Apple devices and other devices with streaming capabilities.

Those who want to watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" before or after the dates above can do so for free by signing up for a seven-day trial. If the subscription isn't canceled by the time the trial period ends, a $6.99 monthly bill will be incurred until the subscription is canceled, which can be done at any time. 

Created in 1965, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was the first animated special based upon the iconic "Peanuts" comic strip. The holiday special centers on Charlie Brown's ongoing quest to discover the true meaning of Christmas, whether that be through directing a local pageant, finding the not-so-perfect tree or seeing his dog Snoopy put up the best light display.

As part of Apple's deal to acquire the "Peanuts" catalog in 2018, the company also has been producing its own original series and specials featuring the iconic characters. 

Starting in 2020, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was only supposed to air on Apple TV+, but critics took issue with the tech company after the Halloween special, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," didn't air on broadcast TV that year for the first time since 1966.

Last year, Apple reached a deal with PBS to air the Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas specials on TV. This year, viewers will have to adapt and catch "A Charle Brown Christmas" on Apple TV+.