TV & Film
17 December 2019
If you thought there was a lot of contention about Christmas movies, I have news for you. Christmas TV episodes are almost more controversial. Some shows have multiples festive flicks a season, others run for 15 seasons and only have a handful (looking at you Greys Anatomy). Deciding which Christmas specials to indulge in can be tough. Luckily, we’ve narrowed down to the 17 best.
Obviously we weren’t going to put anything else at the top of this list. From Thanksgiving to Halloween to Christmas, if it’s a holiday-themed episode, Friends does it best. Now, of course, that means there are plenty of eps to choose from but TBH Christmas has never been the same since we met The Holiday Armadillo.
Nowhere does Christmas like Pawness, much to the irk of Ron Swanson. Humbugs aside this Christmas ep is the Parks and Rec gang at their jolliest. They come together to bring the festive spirit to a recently suspended Leslie resulting in the best gingerbread city hall we’ve ever seen. Fine. The only gingerbread city hall we’ve ever seen.
One word. Festivus.
A word to the wise, keep the Kleenex handy when you flick this on one. This Is Us is a tearjerker all year round but that sprinkle of festive messaging on top really sets us over the edge. In addition to a look at Christmas Eve in 1989, we get some glorious vignettes of the Pearson clan 2016. Oh, and it wouldn’t be Christmas without a closing montage that ends with a big ol’ cliffhanger.
Gilmore Girls was always great at festive episodes. While we have many favourites my personal fave is from season two. It’s the beginning of the Jess x Rory x Dean love triangle (we all know how that ends). Plus there’s nothing more festive than an awkward dinner with one too many guests. Oh and men in tights!
An oldie but a goodie. When Blanche, Rose, Sophia, and Dorothy decide to spend Christmas volunteering at the soup kitchen they end up in a situation so Golden Girls it’s almost meta.
Tried as I might I could not pick just one Christmas episode of The Office. Unlike Friends, there was no clear winner. Season two’s Christmas Party episode is the first time we really see just how deep Jim’s feelings are for Pam and it wrenches our hearts out. When a game of Dirty Santa goes wrong when a pair of oven mitts shatters Michael’s grand plans. It’s a lot. Christmas heartbreak is contagious. As far as Christmas content goes, you can’t go past Secret Santa from season six. Phyllis and Michael’s energy as duelling Santa’s is the hilarity the holidays deserve.
Anything with Tracee Ellis Ross in it deserves a big old festive tick of approval. However, this episode of black-ish is particularly heartwarming. But don’t worry, it’s still got the humour you love so you’re not crying into your eggnog.
As far as I’m concerned Christmas has not started until I’ve seen the Downton Abbey Christmas special. Thank heavens I’ve already seen it three times since November. Ultra-delightful and so festive it hurts this one is worth watching just to build up to those last five minutes.
Ever since seeing Unaccompanied Minors (a severely underrated Christmas movie IMO), I’ve also secretly relished the idea of being stuck in an airport over Christmas. It seems so fun and this episode of New Girl proves that point.
If you haven’t seen the Netflix series Great News, I don’t blame you. It went relatively under the radar. However, if you still don’t make an effort to watch it after reading this we’re going to have problems. It is the wholesome family content your life needs and it’s Christmas episode is no different. It showcases Carol (one of the leads) in all her wondrous glory and has better punch lines than most Christmas flicks.
This a Christmas special even your Dad would sit down to watch. Join Ted Danson and co as they’re made to work late on Christmas Eve thanks to their snarky boss. Sam also has to rush out to find Rebecca after realising literally everyone had the common sense to do so.
We love a good mashup and Chrismukkah is our favourite one yet. The O.C. already has cult status for most but Seth’s made-up holiday solidified it even more. Chrismukkah is the truest example of how pure Seth’s character was (most of the time).
My boss is going to give me such a hard time for including this but I dare anyone who disagrees with it’s inclusion to @ me. There’s no plot point. No been-there-done-that Christmas message. You’re just getting two jolly British icons eating bikkies biscuits and gorging on dessert. It’s utterly delightful.
Personally I’ve never seen an episode of The Simpsons. However, I know the internet will be made at me if I don’t include this. So here it is. Save your sassy comments for another day.
This is not one to have on in the background. Mr Bean is a visual medium and no shock, the Christmas special is no different. There’s a hilarious Nativity scene bit, comedic attempts at conducting a brass band some very hopeless gift giving.
I cannot wait for this special to be reprised this year. Gavin And Stacey is one of the best British sitcoms and it’s always overlooked outside the UK (it’s on Stan, catch up now). We get to spend an entire 45 wonderful minutes with both families and a few too many tipples of alcohol. Like a real-life Christmas, it takes just one person making an announcement to send the whole night south. And boy do we love it.
Words by Emma Roffey
26 March 2020
24 March 2020