11 Of Our Favorite Holiday-Themed Television Episodes
Remember that time Beyoncé ruined Christmas?
At this point, you've probably watched all the Home Alone movies twice (including the third one which, unpopular opinion, isn't terrible), along with Elf and the CHRISTMAS CLASSIC (we don't care what the internet says) Love Actually. You've done good, but you could do better.
Turn off the 24-hour showing of A Christmas Story for a minute and queue up some holiday-themed television shows. Yes, holiday cheer exists outside of film and also come in convenient 30-minute bite-size packages. We rounded up our favorites ahead. Most are available on Netflix or other streaming services and the others you can likely hunt down on the dark corners of the internet (we know you have your ways). Merry, merry!
30 Rock, “Ludachristmas”
Season two is when 30 Rock really hit its stride. This episode centers around Liz Lemon’s seemingly perfect family and Jack’s demanding, pessimistic mother. But the standout story line belongs to Kenneth the Page, Tracy Morgan’s alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet, and the rest of the crew’s indifference to the true meaning of Ludachristmas (which, to them, is “getting crap and eating too much”).
Gossip Girl, “Roman Holiday”
All of the Gossip Girl Christmas episodes are crafted masterfully, but nothing beats the one from the first season. Dan and Serena are at the peak of their cute couple phase, trying to out-adorable each other with their holiday gifts. Blair plots against her father's new boyfriend Roman (which makes the title even better) and, most importantly, Rufus somehow walks from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side without a coat... in the snow, all to not actually end up seeing Lily, but to stand outside her building and call her and tell her he misses her. From picturesque Central Park ice skating to grade A scheming, this episode has it all.
The O.C., “Chrismukkah”
You will never think of Chrismukkah, the Hanukkah/Christmas overlap coincidentally happening this year, without thinking of this endearing O.C. episode.
Downton Abbey, “Christmas at Downtown Abbey”
Is there anything better than romantic tension being fulfilled? No! Is there anything better than an aristocratic estate illuminated from the inside as snow gently falls from the nighttime sky? No! What did the creators of Downton Abbey give audiences for Christmas in 2011? Romantic tension being fulfilled outside of an aristocratic estate illuminated from the inside as snow gently falls from the nighttime sky. Be still our period-piece hearts. Happy holidays, indeed!
Punk’d, Beyoncé Ruins Christmas
The year was 2003. Ashton Kutcher’s Punk'd series on MTV was in early development and nobody realized the legacy that this practical joke reality show would carry. On one fateful night, the actor/comedian decided to pull a prank on a young Beyoncé, when Destiny’s Child had hit its peak. In this episode, Bey is seen placing a star on the top of a gigantic Christmas tree during a lighting ceremony for a charity fundraiser. Just as the star graces the top of the tree, the whole thing crashes to the ground and the children in the crowd start shouting hysterically. Everyone makes Beyoncé believe that she ruined Christmas, and her face says it all. Luckily for her, it was one big joke, but we must never forget.
The Office, “Christmas Party”
From getting a Christmas tree way too big to fit in the office to Kevin getting himself for Secret Santa and not telling anyone to Michael buying an iPod (remember those?) despite the $20 gift limit, this episode demonstrates The Office's quirkiness at its finest. Bossman Michael is at his prime with spot-on That’s What She Said jokes and classic lines like, “We are going to sell that to charity, because that’s what Christmas is all about” and “Happy Birthday Jesus, sorry your party is so lame.” Jim’s thoughtful gift for Pam, a tea pot filled with inside joke mementos, adds a helping of romance. Laughter, unrequited love, and an impromptu Yankee Swap, everything a Christmas episode needs.
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, "Christmas Show"
This is the episode where the entire Banks family gather in a ski lodge over the holidays. When the adults leave, the kids let in a stranger who pulls a gun on them and robs them. It's a jarring moment in an otherwise typically funny episode. It's the coziest episode of Fresh Prince in existence and, fun fact, it's the first time you see the Carlton Dance (to the tune of "Jingle Bell Rock," at that).
Garfield Christmas Special
Garfield was my favorite show that I used to watch with my bigger sister when we were both young. We used to have Garfield videotapes and watch them over and over again. Any Garfield episode brings me back to happy childhood memories and this Christmas episode definitely does as well!
Black Mirror, “White Christmas”
This only qualifies as a Christmas episode because, well, the title, and the fact that two of the story lines center around the holiday. Other than that, it lacks both the cheer and laughter usually involved.If none of the Black Mirror episodes have left you shook up to this point, this one will do the job. Let’s just say, there are several mini plot twists to end all mini plot twists. Plus, there's Jon Hamm.
Friends, “The One With The Holiday Armadillo”
When Ross tries to teach Ben about Hanukkah, it doesn’t go so well. In an attempt to not disappoint, he promises Ben that Santa is going to visit him personally. After he realizes there’s no way he’s going to find a costume two days before Christmas, he settles for the next best thing… an Armadillo. All is well until Chandler bursts in mid-Festival of Lights tale in a Santa costume. Then, Joey arrives in a Superman costume. Happy Hanukkah!
Seinfeld, “The Strike”
Have you ever rolled your eyes at the commercialism that centers around Christmas? Then you’ll love Festivus! All you need is an unadorned aluminum pole in place of a tree, a family willing to air their grievances, and know how to wrestle. A Festivus, for the rest of us!