The Memorial Day weekend that produced the most beloved Christmas special of all time

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In late May 1965, Coca-Cola contacted Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip, and commissioned him to create an animated Christmas special that the soft drink company would sponsor. With just six months to produce the television program, the cartoonist immediately called a meeting with his producer, Lee Mendelson, and with the show’s director, Bill Melendez.

The three men met over Memorial Day weekend at Schulz’s home in Sebastopol, California, and together they sketched out the key elements of what would become the most popular animated Christmas special of all time – “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Lee Mendelson suggested a Christmas tree as a plot element. Schulz embraced the idea, saying, “We need a Charlie Brown-like tree!” When the

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