Between Christmas parties, family gatherings, and gift shopping, there's hardly any downtime during the holiday season. However, if you do find yourself with some time on your hands this season, use the opportunity to escape the holiday madness and watch a marathon of some classic Christmas TV episodes. Not sure where to start? Here are some of our favorites:
The Office, “Christmas Party”
Honestly, all of The Office’s Christmas episodes are pretty great. However, if we had to pick a favorite, it’s the one that started it all: “Christmas Party.”
In the episode, the office throws a Christmas Party with a Secret Santa gift exchange. The Secret Santa quickly turns into a heated game of “Yankee Swap” and an iPod Michael originally had gifted to Ryan became the game’s most wanted item. Several drinks later, the party turns to chaos and the episode ends with Meredith exposing herself.
It’s classic The Office and was the highest rated episode of season two.
Community, “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”
On the final day of classes for the semester, Abed visualizes everything in stop-motion. While the rest of the gang is concerned with his mental health, Abed embraces the fantasy of stop-motion and sings along to the Christmas version of the show’s theme…until he is tasered by Greendale’s campus security.
As the episode moves forward and delves deeper into Abed’s psyche, viewers get an honest sense of how lonely the holidays can be for some people.
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, “A Very Sunny Christmas
On the season finale of It’s Always Sunny’s sixth season, the gang embraces the joy of the holidays.
Despite their constant shenanigans and schemes throughout the series, in this episode, Mac, Charlie, Dennis, Dee, and Frank are determined to experience the true spirit of Christmas…even if that involves stolen toys, naked elves, and a little bit of blood.
BoJack Horseman Christmas Special: Sabrina’s Christmas Wish
BoJack Horseman’s Christmas Special was an instant classic.
The special shows BoJack watching a Horsin’ Around holiday episode with his roommate, Todd. What ensues is a hilarious parody of ’80s sitcoms and holiday special episodes in general.
The show is always fantastically self-aware, but BoJack really brought it home when he said, “Special holiday episodes are always stupid. Cynical cash grabs, by greedy corporations, looking to squeeze some extra Neilsen points, from sentimental clap-trap for mush brain idiots, who’d rather spend their Christmas watching a fake family TV, then actually trying to have a conversation with their own dumb families.”
The O.C., “The Best Chrismukkah Ever”
Being a soapy teen drama, The O.C. isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, the show is responsible for giving the world Chrismukkah, “the greatest superholiday known to mankind.”
In this episode, Ryan is first introduced to Chrismukkah, which was created by Seth Cohen as a result of having a Jewish father and a Protestant mother. For Seth, Chrismukkah was basically an excuse for eight days of presents followed by even more presents, but for fans of the show, it became a phenomenon and has inspired plenty of cross-cultural holiday celebrations.
Black Mirror, “White Christmas”
Even science-fiction shows, like Black Mirror, aren’t immune to Christmas specials.
“White Christmas” stars Jon Hamm and Rafe Spall as two men who wake up in a cabin in the middle of the snowy woods. To pass the time, the two men share the stories of their lives. It sounds mundane, but of course, it has a classic Black Mirror plot twist at the end that makes it worth the watch.
New Girl, “The 23rd”
“The 23rd” was the first of many Christmas episodes for New Girl, but it’s still the one that left the greatest impression.
In the episode, Nick and Winston are planning to go home for the holidays, even though Nick has missed his flight home the past four years. Meanwhile, Jess breaks up with Paul and Schmidt is forced to dress up as a Naughty Santa for his company Christmas party.
One of the things that makes this episode so great is that it’s one of the first times in the series where Jess isn’t just the cute, quirky roommate of three guys, but actually a member of their group.
In the end, Nick misses his fifth consecutive flight home and Jess’s friends come together and show her love and embrace the true spirit of Christmas.
Friends, “The One With The Holiday Armadillo”
Friends is known for it’s iconic Thanksgiving episodes, however, it’s other holiday episodes are equally enjoyable.
Before The O.C. gave us Chrismukkah, Ross Gellar gave us his own twist on combining Christmas and Hanukkah. In the episode, Ross felt that his son, Ben, had only been exposed to Christmas traditions and decided it was time to teach him about Hanukkah. When Ben found out Santa wouldn’t be involved, he freaked out. Thus, the Holiday Armadillo was born, Santa’s part Jewish friend.
When Ross tried to teach his son, Ben, about Hanukkah, Ben freaked out because Santa wasn’t involved. Thus, Santa’s part Jewish friend, the Holiday Armadillo, was born.
Parks And Recreation, “Citizen Knope”
In “Citizen Knope,” Leslie is put on a two-week suspension from her job in the Parks Department. Leslie, being the workaholic that she is, tries to sneak into the office to find some work to do. She ends up creating a citizens action committee during her time off and ends up creating a huge presence at town hall meetings.
While all this is happening, Leslie doesn’t forget that it’s Christmas time and gives her coworkers at the Parks Department incredibly sincere gifts. To show their gratitude, her coworkers create a miniature city hall made out of gingerbread and volunteer to manage her campaign for city council.
Glee, “A Very Glee Christmas”
Glee‘s first holiday-themed episode, “A Very Glee Christmas,” arrived in season two. The Christmas episodes were the perfect way to give the show’s ultra passionate fanbase some songs to get them through the holidays. Some songs from the episode even gained some commercial success, like Kurt and Blaine’s flirty rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
This episode’s overarching story mirrors the Dr. Seuss classic, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Glee Club nemesis, Sue Sylvester, steals Christmas gifts from the faculty Secret Santa and vandalizes the choir room. But in the end, Sue apologizes after she is moved by a Glee Club performance she overhears, returns the stolen gifts, and gets in on spreading the holiday cheer.
The episode is cheesy, even for a show like Glee, but isn’t that what we want in a Christmas episode?