I love it when a show I really like does a Christmas episode (or better yet, a Christmas special). Some shows do it, some don’t, but I think it adds a nice touch to the season. They generally strike a balance between crazy Christmas antics and heartwarming messages. These are my favorite Christmas episodes from some of my favorite shows in no particular order (except the first two).
1. “The One With the Holiday Armadillo” from Friends
This episode, a rare Christmas show from Friends, deals with incorporating your heritage and religion into the mass-market holiday that is Christmas. It boasts some great moments between the friends as they attempt to teach Ben the true meaning of Christmas and Hanukkah.
2. “The Christmas Invasion” from Doctor Who
This episode is David Tennant’s official debut as The Doctor. It’s filled with dangerous Santas, a killer Christmas tree, and a swordfight on a spaceship. It’s one of my favorite television episodes overall, let alone as a Christmas episode.
3. “A Christmas Carol” from Doctor Who
Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol was rather brilliant. It captured the spirit of the original Charles Dickens‘ story, telling it in an entirely unique fashion. I was surprised at how they pulled some of it off, and this first look at the new season boded well. Quite well indeed.
4. “The Runaway Bride” from Doctor Who
Doctor Who is known for its Christmas specials. They’re usually pretty great, and “The Runaway Bride” is no exception. It introduces Donna Noble, who will becomes an integral and tragic character, as well as one of my favorites. From the start, Catherine Tate and David Tennant have excellent chemistry, which distracts from Billie Piper’s absence. Its not the most overtly Christmas-y episode, though there are some nice touches which connect us back to the holidays.
5. “Ludachristmas” from 30 Rock
This has everything a person needs from a Christmas episode: family drama, emotional warfare, and the spirit of giving. We meet Liz’s family in this episode and get a healthy dose of crazy from all involved. In the end, though, it’s heartwarming.
6. “The One With Phoebe’s Dad” from Friends
When Phoebe decides to seek out her estranged father who abandoned her, she finds great support in her friends. Finally, after deciding he might not live up to her idealized expectations, she returns home to have Christmas with her true family: her friends. There’s also a fun, memorable gift exchange.
7. “The One With the Inappropriate Sister” from Friends
This is one of those episodes where the B-story line is better than the main story. Phoebe decides to spread love throughout New York City by manning a Salvation Army Donation bucket outside of Macy’s. She turns into ‘Street Phoebe’ when people begin to abuse her bucket. It’s a lot of fun, more than being a heartwarming Christmas episode.
8. “The Strike” from Seinfeld
This episode boasts the invention of Festivus (the holiday for the rest of us). It’s memorable and hilarious–one of my favorites. Many people have emulated this (possibly unintentionally) with their airing of grievances and feats of strength. This may be why the Christmas season brings so many people to the local urgent care and requires many New Year’s Resolutions.
9. “Christmas Party” from The Office
When the employees of Dunder Mifflin try to have a gift exchange, Jim plans something deeply personal for Pam, while Michael tries to impress others with a really expensive gift. Things don’t go on exactly as planned.
10. “A Benihana Christmas” from The Office
The staff members at Dunder Mifflin can’t agree on a Christmas party and decide to throw competing parties. At the same time, Michael is depressed because of a recent breakup and tries to date a waitress. None of this works out well. Except for Jim and Pam, who arrange a delightful Christmas surprise for Dwight.
11. “Moroccan Christmas” from The Office
Party drama rears its ugly head once again as Phyllis forces Angela to give her the reins for the Christmas Party. It turns into an ugly emotional affair with blackmail and deep dark secrets are brought into the open for all the enjoy. Meanwhile, Dwight corners the market on the hugely popular Princess Unicorn doll.
12. “Secret Santa” from The Office
With the ever-present threat of layoffs looming over the Scranton office, Jim and Dwight try to take everyone’s minds off of a potentially depressing season, and Phyllis is Santa.
13. “The One With Christmas in Tulsa” from Friends
When Chandler is required to spend Christmas in Tulsa, away from his wife and friends, he must decide what his priorities are: a job he hates, or the wife he loves. It’s not heavy on the humor but on heart.
The rest come soon; Merry Christmas!