Today, I give you my list of Christmas episodes. This list is almost impossible to whittle down to just 10, so I made this a list of 15. Also, I tried to keep the list to just one episode per show. Some of these, I haven’t watched in a long time and some are brand new additions to the Holiday Episode list. Keep in mind that I don’t watch every show and I am very biased in my selection of the “best holiday episodes ever”, but I think you can enjoy my list regardless.
15. “The 23rd” New Girl: Season 1 – Nick really fouls things up when he tells Jess’ current boyfriend that she is not in love with him. The real Christmas magic is when Nick wakes up the most decorated neighborhood in town, Candy Cane Lane, to turn on all of their lights to cheer her up. Is it any wonder why these two are together now?
14. “Symphony of Illumination” How I Met Your Mother: Season 7 – Definitely the biggest bummer episode on the list, but that is what makes this episode so great. Robin takes the narrating reins and tells the story of when she thought she was pregnant to what turn out to be her imaginary children. You see, Robin finds out that she cannot have children. The true Christmas spirit comes when Ted cheers her up without knowing why she needs cheering up by setting up an elaborate Christmas light routine.
13. “Christmas Party Sex Trap” The Mindy Project: Season 2 – Yes, this just aired, but hello! Did you see Chris Messina dance to Aaliyah? Yeah. And if that weren’t enough, Mindy and Danny almost kiss!
12. “Santa in the Slush” Bones: Season 3 – Ah, the good old days when the only person getting into the Bones-Booth mix was Caroline bribing them into kissing under the mistletoe. I love Caroline. While the whole first-kiss aspect really helps, this is also just a pretty good Christmas episode. You have the gore and mystery with a dead Santa in a sewer, you have the funny with Booth having to sniff Santas, you have the whimsy with Santa’s apartment above a toy store, and you have the touching with Booth giving Brennan her Christmas tree. Le sigh.
11. “Christmas Special” 30 Rock: Season 3 – In my book, it doesn’t get much better than Liz Lemon ruining Christmas for some kids and Jack finding out that his mom took F.A.O. Schwartz as her gentlemen lover (“Uhh that word bums me out unless it’s between the words meat and pizza”) to make Christmas for him as a kid.
10. “Citizen Knope” Parks and Recreation: Season 4 – It shouldn’t be surprising that the merriest show on television is good at doing a Christmas episode. Sure enough, in true Parks and Recreation style, this episode is hilarious and sweet. Leslie is in the midst of her suspension after it is revealed that she and Ben are dating. Leslie is obviously the best at gift giving, but the parks department wants to make up some of the difference. When her campaign team bails after low approval numbers, they give her the best gift of all!
9. “Afternoon Delight” Arrested Development: Season 2 – Ah, Christmas. The time of year when you have parties on Bethlehem time, sing about daytime lovin’ with your niece, and let kids get their grubby little hands all over a $3000 dollar suit. Come on!
8. “The Polarizing Express” Psych: Season 5 – It is exactly what you would want out of an It’s a Wonderful Life episode from Psych written and directed by James Roday: bizarre, hilarious, and Gus in a UPN sitcom in the 90s. This episode only further solidifies my love for Roday.
7. “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” Community: Season 2 – This stop-motion, musical spectacular holiday special send-up had to be on the list. Um, Abed finding out that the meaning of Christmas is the first season of Lost on DVD because Christmas can mean whatever we want it to mean? Brilliant, uproarious, and kind of sweet. Also, this episode gave me my new favorite Christmas mascot. Christmas Pterodactyl!
6. “Christmas Party” The Office: Season 2 – This one made me all sorts of nostalgic for the (now fulfilled) sexual tension of Jim and Pam. It also had some other great stuff, too. Michael’s impromptu Yankee Swap to get rid of the homemade oven mitt, Creed’s equally impromptu Secret Santa gift, Angela’s babies-playing-saxes poster, and Meredith flashing Michael. “Happy birthday, Jesus. Sorry your party’s so lame.”
5. “A Very Supernatural Christmas” Supernatural: Season 3 – This episode is exactly what you would expect from a Supernatural Christmas episode: it’s creepy, it’s kooky, and it has that punch of heart right at the end between the demon hunting bros.
4. “No-Ho-Ho” Happy Endings: Season 3 – All I want for Christmas is this show to come back. Is that so much to ask? The episode centers around the gang trying to give Jane the best birthday ever when they find out that her birthday is actually on Christmas, but they have a hard time keeping Christmas out. Between Brad’s penchant for dancing with hip-hop Santa, Max’s Egg Nog addiction, and Alex’s weird present opening fetish, there is no way they can succeed. “Happy Birthday, Jane. And Jesus.”
3. “Bath Item Gift Hypothesis” The Big Bang Theory: Season 2 – Sheldon really struggles with what to reciprocate Penny’s Christmas gift with so he buys up every gift basket in Bath and Body Works with plans to pick the present that best fits her gift to him in terms of price. And while I enjoy this whole episode, I adore the last five minutes. When Sheldon receives Penny’s … you know what, just go watch this.
2. “A Christmas Carol” Doctor Who: Eleventh Doctor – It should be noted that I somehow forgot to include at lease ONE Doctor Who special on yesterday’s list. I’m so ashamed that I am cheating and including this special on the episode list. Hey, it’s my list, I can do what I want. It has gotten to they point now where my Christmases are not complete without my Doctor Who specials and this one is my favorite. A twist on the Dickens classic may be a bit over done, but the Whovian element makes this just right.
1. “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” Mystery Science Theater 3000: Season 3 – In answer to your question, yes, this movie is as ridiculous as it sounds. In fact, probably more so. But that is what makes Joel and the bots making fun of it so great. Then you couple their commentary with their performance of “A Patrick Swayze Christmas”, a seminal Christmas carol classic, and you get pure holiday magic.
Phew! That’s a lot of linking for your viewing pleasure, there you have it! Do you have any shows you like with great Christmas episodes that I should check out? Do you disagree with my order? Not that I am going to change my mind, but I would love to at least pretend to listen to your feedback. Check out my favorite Christmas specials and stay tuned for my favorite holiday movies and holiday records!