Monday marked the true start of the holiday season. No, not because Thanksgiving is now over. And no, it's not because tomorrow is December 1st. And it definitely had nothing to do with Cyber Monday. It's all about a group of kids and their great desire to keep the spirit of the season alive. Yes, folks, I'm talking about Charlie, Linus, Lucy, Sally, Schroeder, and the rest of the Peanuts gang. I'm talking about flimsy Christmas trees, dogs named Snoopy, and of course, the 50th Anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas, which was honored tonight with its own TV special on ABC prior to a showing of the holiday classic.

Charlie Brown super fans were surely pleased by the beautiful set designs and the use of Vince Guaraldi’s music throughout the special (Guaraldi gave all the Peanuts movies their signature sound). Footage of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz as well as producers Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson detailed the history of the beloved comic strips turned animated features. Kristen Bell, aka Veronica Mars, hosted the event (wearing a dress that was a cross between holiday classic 50s housewife and Wednesday Adams — which I personally loved), and the whole hour-long special was filled with plenty of memorable moments:

The Obamas' Adoring (And Feminist) Message

I gotta admit, seeing POTUS and FLOTUS made me squee a bit, as did their Peanut-isms about how all the kids watching must only be hearing them say, "Wah wah wah." Mostly, I dug the last part of the message:

They teach us that tiny trees just need a little love and this holiday, we celebrate peace on earth and good will toward all.

Not "good will towards MEN," but "good will towards ALL." I hear you, Prez, loud and clear.

Learning The History Of The Charlie Brown Christmas Special

Did you know that the idea to create the Peanuts Christmas special all came from an un-aired documentary about Charles Schulz? And that the show was funded mainly thanks to Coca-Cola? Or that it took about 13,000 cell drawings to create the entire 30 minute special? This anniversary special had tons of interesting factoids about A Charlie Brown Christmas, which will hopefully serve me well the day Jeopardy has a category on the subject. Fingers crossed...

...Plus Finding Out That Fergie Was The Voice Of Sally

This was the biggest OMG moment of the show. Who would have thought that Miss Fergie of Black Eyed Peas fame was also the voice of little Sally Brown, Charlie Brown's Linus-obsessed sister? At first I thought she would just be (very randomly) sharing her memories of watching the show, and that she would end up singing a song but then out of nowhere, we find out she's been part of the show all along (at least, some of the later specials--Kathy Steinberg did the original voice). She even showed off the Snoopy that Charles Schultz drew for her. Fergie officially became 100x cooler in my book tonight.

The Music!

Sarah McLachlan's rendition of "Christmastime Is Here" and Boyz II Men takING on "Joe Cool" and "Little Birdie" were definitely my favorites, but that might just be my Child of the 90s bias showing there. The performance by Matthew Morrison singing "Just Like Me," a new song created just for the special, was pretty wonderful, as was Kristen Chenowith's rendition of "Happiness," but it was Pentatonix and the All-American Boys Choir singing at "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" that really gave me all the feels.

Getting To Watch The Peanuts Christmas Special Right After

Because this is a must-watch every year. Now it really does feel like the holidays.

Images: YouTube (1)