When done right, a Christmas special goes timeless and can be watched over and over again for years to come. There’s something about seeing your favorite television characters share all the heartwarming holiday moments (or hijinks) that the season brings. They remind us about what truly matters and sometimes, they make our misadventures (like locking your keys in the car, forgetting to pick up gifts altogether, or lost luggage) seem totally normal. Quaint, even.
If you’re all caught up on this season’s show, hit rewind (just kidding, what is a rewind button) and check out our favorite Christmas episodes of all time.
Friends, “The One With The Holiday Armadillo”
This is probably one of the most well-known episodes in the series ten season run. In this episode, Ross is frustrated that his son is only exposed to Christmas traditions so he plans to shelf Christmas celebrations to teach him about Channukah. At the last minutes, Ross has a change of heart and just wants the kid to have a Merry Christmas. He goes to rent a Santa outfit but all that’s left are armadillo suits. Thus, the Holiday Armadillo, Santa’s friend from the Southwest, is born.
The Office, “Christmas Party”
The annual Office Christmas episode was usually a season highlight, but none came close to the subtle awkwardness of the first. Like the series itself, the Christmas shows got increasingly absurd and unrelateable as the premise dragged on, but season 2’s “Christmas Party” was everything that was great about the show: Steve Carell was at his peak Michael Scott-ness while pouting about an oven mitt he’d received as a gift; the mundanity of office life getting broken up by an even more mundane party; Jim and Pam at the height of their pre-dating romantic tension. Though it’s not a movie, it still holds up as one of the best repeat Christmas viewings on Netflix.
Peanuts, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”
Still one of TV’s most simple and compelling presentations of the Gospel. This Peanuts special is one for the ages that can be enjoyed by the older members of the family, as well as the kids. This special premiered in 1965 and was later honored with a Peabody and Emmy award. It’s become an annual broadcast aired during Christmas and definitely a tradition to watch in homes across the U.S.
Seinfeld, “The Strike”
The episode that gave us Festivus. And a look at Frank Costanza’s pathology. The traditional airing of family grievances might be a tradition you participate in each year without even realizing it. Add a “festivus pole” and you’ve got Festivus. The dinner scene is probably one of the funniest moments in sitcom history. There’s even a Wiki-How on it if you have a few things to get off your chest this year.