Can you believe it’s December already?! The festivities are kickin’ and in full-swing. The holiday spirit is very much alive as every establishment is aptly transformed into a winter wonderland of sorts, houses at every corner are lit, and Christmas playlists become inescapable—just like Christmas specials from almost every show. If you’re done checking out the new releases, let’s step back and look at the classics. Christmas is about traditions after all. There are so plenty to choose from. If you’re overwhelmed from all the titles, we recommend you start your marathon with this list we made of some of our favorites from beloved TV series.
Friends – The One With The Holiday Armadillo
One of the greatest shows has given us one of the best unorthodox Christmas characters in the form of the Holiday Armadillo. While Friends is known more for its Thanksgiving episodes, this is undeniably gold. It’s the one where Ross had to dress up as an Armadillo to surprise his son Ben for Christmas, while also trying to teach him about Hannukah. Oh, and he has to convince Ben that he is way cooler than Santa, whom Chandler came as.
The Office – Christmas Party
The Office is probably my favorite TV show of all time. That’s a massive statement, I know. It’s just so well-written and funny AF. Choosing a favorite is tough since they have so many great holiday specials. So just because I need to pick something, I’m going with “Christmas Party” from season two. Here, we see Michael Scott being the bratty boss he is in a game of Dirty Santa gone wrong, and well… typical Dunder Mifflin shenanigans ensue. Needless to say, it’s epic.
Doctor Who – Christmas Carol
For a lot of people, Doctor Who specials have become a significant part of their Christmas tradition. The “Christmas Carol” episode, in particular, is a classic which borrows from another classic. Charles Dickens’ tale (creator Steven Moffat’s favorite) gets a sci-fi makeover here, as we see the Doctor deal with a Scrooge-like man who controls the cloud belt where one Spaceliner got stuck in. It’s also filled with special guest appearances plus festive musical treats.
Simpsons – Marge Be Not Proud
Christmas episodes are an essential part of The Simpsons. In fact, its very first episode was ‘Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.” That’s obviously a good one, as it launched the series into a long run. But this particular episode remains a favorite to most fans. It must be the nostalgia, as the episode is heavily laden with ‘90s references. Plus the fact that it’s one of the series’ most emotional episodes ever. It’s about Bart trying to deal with the wrong he committed after not getting what he wanted for Christmas. The plot was actually based on writer Mike Scully’s own childhood experience.
Black Mirror – White Christmas
If you’re sick of all the cheesy holiday specials and your idea of a great show is something darker, or something that makes you think, then this episode of Black Mirror is for you. The show’s only Christmas special has also become one of its most lauded one yet. Starring Jon Hamm and Rafe Spall, the second season finale of the British series is a lengthy feature which centers around two men who wake up in a cabin and share stories about their lives. Yeah it sounds completely mundane, but since it’s Black Mirror, expect it to be anything but. That ending will surely have your mind blown and asking questions until New Year’s.
How I Met Your Mother – Symphony of Illumination
This particular episode is a personal favorite. From the start, it’s really different. Instead of Ted speaking to his children, it opened with Robyn speaking to hers (sort of). The finale of season 12, it’s really emotional and focuses on the bad news Robyn received from her doctor. She decides to keep it to herself and spend Christmas alone, but Ted had other plans.
Modern Family – Express Christmas
Modern Family also has several great Christmas specials. This one from the third season is about the family trying to pull of an “emergency Christmas” since they realized they won’t spend actual Christmas together. They divide into groups to accomplish a special assignment, but of course nothing happened the way they planned. The result is a disaster but don’t worry. This family always finds a way to make something beautiful out of a disaster.
Gilmore Girls – Forgiveness and Stuff
The second part of the cliff-hanger where Rory and Dean accidentally stayed out all night, this episode sees a renewed rift between Lorelai and her mother Emily after that incident. It also started a rift between Rory and Lorelai. It was cut short when Richard suddenly got sent to the hospital, leading to an emotional father-daughter moment between the two.
Art by Marian Hukom
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