Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking

Available From: Fantagraphics / Amazon

Price: $9.99

Giving someone a Christmas-themed gift for Christmas is always a pretty risky proposition, as you're basically handing something over with a time limit on how long the recipient has to enjoy it before it gets stuck on the shelf and/or attic until next December. With some things, though, it's worth it, and a new version of two Peanuts stories that have been out of print for the past 40 years definitely qualifies.The two stories collected here were actually created for magazines. Christmas Stocking ran in the pages of Good Housekeeping in 1963 (which, as Fantagraphics points out, was two years before the debut of the animated Christmas special that would link the strip to the holidays for the rest of pop culture history), and according to the text pieces at the end of the book, Schulz actually sent it out as his own Christmas card that year. So really, if it was good enough for Charles Schulz, it's probably good enough for you.

It's a short and small hardcover -- about the size of a CD case -- but it's beautifully designed and makes a great gift for the person on your list who's been enjoying those big Peanuts reprints that Fanta's been doing over the past few years as well. And if you don't have someone like that on your list, maybe buy a couple of those and throw this one in as a bonus.