Why was it such a misfit?

It's odd that, when ABC wanted to expand A Charlie Brown Christmas to one hour, they commissioned a brand-new filler special (Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales) and let this very similar, already-completed special rot on the shelf. Both It's Christmastime Again and Christmas Tales are made entirely of comic strip material, but the loss is that many good Christmas Peanuts strips were used on the lesser-known 1992 special, and couldn't be repeated in the 2003 one.

For example? There's the Peanuts strip sequence from 1990 where Charlie Brown tries to buy a pair of gloves for his new girlfriend Peggy Jean. He goes through a lot of effort to raise the money, even selling his entire comic book collection.....and when he buys the gloves, he turns around to see Peggy Jean has just been given new gloves by her mother.

The strips picked for this special just flow better as a story than in Christmas Tales. The second half is a Christmas play that no one can seem to get right. Peppermint Patty and Marcie appear as a shepherd and a sheep. "BARK! WOOF! MOO! WHATEVER!" gasps a stage-frightened Patty in wool.

Sally is next, and she's been practicing her one line all week: "All I have to do is say 'Hark!' Then someone named Harold Angel sings." But due to subliminal influences, she ends up saying "Hockey Stick!" Doncha just hate it when that happens? And in the special's end gag, it turns out there actually WAS a Harold Angel.

Why didn't it fit in?
It was no fault of the special itself -- just bad circumstances. When this one debuted, Peanuts specials were going down in ratings. Mendelsohn and Melendez only made two more before their six-year hiatus -- Snoopy's Relatives in 1993 and You're In The Super Bowl, Charlie Brown in 1994. There were none after that until Schulz's death brought back interest. Not many people paid attention to the cartoons at this point, and judging its rerun potential by the ratings, CBS canned the special after one airing. No other network has aired it since, but it can be found as an extra on the Charlie Brown Christmas DVD.

I don't know why no one will re-air this. I'd much rather see it every year than I Want A Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown.