To Pass The Time, Here Are 80 Best Christmas Episodes You Can Watch
Ahh, Christmas. Who doesn’t like this magical and surprise-filled time of the year? Toys, Christmas trees, and the first two Die Hard movies (yes, those are Christmas movies!) Yet, sometimes those can become…a little stale. To the rescue come some of the best Christmas episodes and Christmas specials. Television is often the rescue net for Christmas Eves that get a little boring. With a simple push of a few buttons on the remote, you get the chance to see the best Christmas TV episodes from your most loved shows. But, with so many Christmas shows and episodes to choose from — which shows have the greatest Christmas episodes?
While what makes up a good Christmas episode is up for debate, we’d normally expect it to have a little romance, a sense of nostalgia, a festive soundtrack, and lots of laughs. The perfect combination of these elements can be found in the good ol’ situation comedies. Shows like Friends and Seinfeld feature some of the best sitcom Christmas episodes to enjoy with the family. Indulging in those will undoubtedly create some laughs around the table as we put ourselves in the characters’ shoes and the comical situations they get into. With no harm coming to us, we can laugh and enjoy the moment for what it is — a Festivus celebration (Seinfeld fans will get this)!
With the festive season just around the corner, now is the perfect time to create a list of Christmas episodes you might want to revisit. Here at Bored Panda, we have gathered some of the best Christmas specials, gathered from both your favorite TV shows and animated series. If an episode reminded you of the good old times, upvote it. If you remember an episode from the show that you watch every Christmas, comment it down below and share your thoughts!
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Doctor Who, "A Christmas Carol"
There have been many small-screen adaptations of the famous novella, but none more unique than Doctor Who's – which was somehow very obviously Dickensian but also uniquely, unmistakably, completely Doctor Who.
Mr. Bean, "Merry Christmas Mr. Bean" (Episode 7)
The hilarious tinkering with the model Nativity scene, the absurd attempts to command the brass band, and the dreadfully awful present choice are just a few examples (in a sequence featuring an on-again off-again girlfriend). And the turkey, of course. On Bean's head. Is there anything left to say?
A Charlie Brown Christmas (Christmas Special)
This is the most traditional of them all. In this television special, the Peanuts group searches for meaning over the holiday season. Lucy decides to make Charlie Brown the play's director in an effort to restore his smile because he is having a bad day. This helps everyone understand the genuine meaning of the holiday and always makes people feel good while they're watching.
M*A*S*H, "Death Takes A Holiday" (Season 9, Episode 5)
In this heartbreaking M*A*S*H episode, the group plays music for orphans in their tent while desperately attempting to save a wounded soldier on Christmas.
Bob's Burgers, "Christmas In The Car" (Season 4, Episode 8)
Yes, the Belchers' last-minute Christmas activities are as bizarre and amusing as you'd anticipate.
The Simpsons, "Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire" (Season 1, Episode 1)
The Simpsons' first episode to air perfectly captures the essence of America's favorite family: Marge spends the entire family Christmas budget on the removal of Bart Simpson's tattoo when he gets one. Homer works as a mall Santa to make ends meet and provide for his kids during the holiday season after learning that he won’t receive any Christmas bonus from his boss Mr. Burns. However, he ends up losing all of his money at a dog race. The Simpsons take in the last-place greyhound when his owner abandons him, renaming him Santa's Little Helper. We do indeed cry.
Pinky And The Brain, "A Pinky And The Brain Christmas" (Season 1, Episode 8)
Pinky and The Brain's take on Christmas will amuse both kids and adults, with grownups giggling at pop culture references and criticism of the holiday's commercialization, while youngsters merely laugh whenever Brain does something ridiculous.
Black Mirror, "White Christmas"
Christmas in Black Mirror! And it's exactly how it sounds!
Perfectly creepy and unsettling. One of the best sites I've ever seen
Futurama, "Xmas Story" (Season 2, Episode 4)
This episode is a great early example of Futurama playing for drama as well as comedy. Fry misses the traditions of home and childhood; whether we've moved ten miles down the road or a thousand years into the future, that's a sentiment we can all experience. The combination between nostalgia and nutso humor makes this a holiday standout. The pogoing lobster, voice-activated ski slope, and the comically aggressive St. Nick are 30th-century icing on a classic cake.
How I Met Your Mother, "How Lily Stole Christmas" (Season 2, Episode 11)
The story about the time that storyteller Ted (Josh Radnor) called (Alyson Hannigan's) Lily a "grinch" during Christmas Time is the second most sanitized version of his earlier years, right after "eating a sandwich."
Father Ted, "A Christmassy Ted" (Christmas Special)
The Priest Chatback line, Ted's acceptance speech for the Golden Cleric award, and Mrs. Doyle's shock at receiving a tea maker as a present. The character comedy and farce are marked with a hint of the surreal, as in all the best Father Ted episodes. Mrs. Doyle's increasingly complicated windowsill falls never fail to amuse, and the gang of priests' desperate, epic attempts to flee "Ireland's biggest lingerie section" are sublimely ridiculous.
The Office, "Office Party" (Season 2, Episode 10)
Dunder Mifflin from The Office has its fair share of memorable Christmases, but nothing beats the Secret Santa gone wrong episode from season 2 thanks to an inappropriate iPod gift and some classic Jim-Pam love tension.
Ted Lasso, "Carol Of The Bells" (Season 2, Episode 4)
Although Ted Lasso dared to release its season 2 Christmas episode in the middle of the summer, the controversial episode is filled with enough heartfelt seasonal cheer to make anyone believe it is winter time.
Community, "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" (Season 2, Episode 11)
We all grew up watching stop-motion versions of Christmas tales on television, so it only makes sense that Community's season 2 holiday episode would take inspiration from Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (1970).
I would have loved to know community earlier in my life. Its my favourite English speaking serie after "call the midwife", "Sherlock" and "70s show" ;-)
Friends, "The One With The Holiday Armadillo" (Season 7, Episode 10)
Thanksgiving is not the only celebration that can be enjoyed with friends! You're tougher than we are if you can sit through the Holiday Armadillo's (David Schwimmer's Ross) Hanukkah lesson all the way to Joey's encounter with Superman (Matt LeBlanc's Joey) without once collapsing into a burst of holiday laughter.
Lost, "The Constant" (Season 4, Episode 5)
Lost's ageless time-traveling masterpiece isn't just one of the best Christmas episodes; it's one of the best TV episodes ever.
Seinfeld, "The Strike" (Season 9, Episode 10)
We apologize for calling "The Strike" the Christmas episode of Seinfeld. Happy Festivus to everybody!
Downtown Abbey, "Christmas At Downtown Abbey"
The second season of Downton Abbey came to a beautiful end with a Christmas special that, in turn, featured a flawlessly romantic marriage proposal in the snow.
Batman: The Animated Series, "Christmas With The Joker" (Season 1, Episode 2)
This timeless episode of Batman: The Animated Series is enjoyable for both adults and children and features the Joker's well-known holiday song. And nor should we forget, Mark Hamill is the voice of the Joker!
Only Fools And Horses, "Christmas Crackers" (Season 1, Episode 7)
Along with boxing day discounts and mince pies, the Only Fools And Horses special is a Christmas tradition that will always be associated with Christmas in the UK. But only a small percentage of those wonderful episodes really take place around the holidays; much like their UK counterparts, the majority are lengthy one-offs with little to no link to Christmas. However, in the early seasons of the series, Christmas really did signify Christmas, and it is in this episode that we find the underappreciated gem "Christmas Crackers," a low-key day with the Trotters adventure that is totally dependent on conversation driven by the characters.
Scrubs, "My Own Personal Jesus" (Season 1, Episode 11)
No one on the staff or among the patients in this first-season episode looks forward to spending Christmas in the hospital. But as it turns out, a number of coincidences happen at once, including Elliot (Sarah Chalke's) pregnant patient going missing and J.D. (Zach Braff's) unconscious patient awakening. Everyone starts to question whether it's a sign to have faith as they search for solutions.
The Golden Girls, "Have Yourself A Very Little Christmas" (Season 5, Episode 12)
A very big surprise awaits Blanche, Rose, Sophia, and Dorothy as they volunteer to serve Christmas dinner at a soup kitchen.
Modern Family, "Undeck The Halls" (Season 1, Episode 10)
Watch the comedy that happens when Phil and Claire threaten to "cancel" Christmas in the very first Modern Family Christmas episode, and be amazed at how much the Dunphy children have grown since the first season.
Modern Family, “Express Christmas” (Season 3, Episode 10)
Phil (Ty Burrell) assigns everyone tasks to fulfill for an emergency holiday after the family members discover they won't all be together for Christmas. Of course, everything fails, but they're all closer because of it.
The Wonder Years, “Christmas” (Season 2, Episode 3)
This show successfully maintained a wonderful balance between laughter and sadness. Kevin (Fred Savage) is looking for the ideal gift for Winnie (Danica McKellar). He and his brother are trying to persuade their father to get a color TV in the meantime.
The League Of Gentleman, "Yule Never Leave!" (Christmas Special)
Nobody watches The League of Gentlemen Christmas special hoping for universal harmony and peace. But in "Yule Never Leave!," arguably the most horrifying and disturbing Christmas program ever, Royston Vasey pushes the limits of evil. Bernice Woodall, everyone's favorite atheist reverend, listens to three unsettling stories from parishioners seeking holiday comfort.
Gilmore Girls, "The Bracebridge Dinner" (Season 2, Episode 10)
Winter in Connecticut! A very special Stars Hollow party hosted by Lorelai (Lauren Graham)! Drama between Richard and Emily (Edward Herrmann and Kelly Bishop)! Sneaky, rude, and flirtatious Jess (Milo Ventimiglia). What more could you ask for in a Gilmore Girls Christmas?
Grey's Anatomy, "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" (Season 2, Episode 12)
Yes, your favorite medical drama also knows how to celebrate Christmas. For a program that isn't truly about the holidays but is nonetheless holiday-adjacent, go all the way back to season 2.
The Bojack Horseman Christmas Special
This special, despite being technically a stand-alone and not a Christmas episode, explores '90s comedy cliches as well as more serious subjects like surveillance and mental illness — all with the trippy, darkly humorous qualities you've come to expect from BoJack Horseman.
Eureka, "Do You See What I See" (Season 4, Episode 21)
The holiday episode "Do You See What I See" features a wave of vibrant energy that descends upon Eureka, transforming every person into a hyper-colorful cartoon figure.
The X-Files, "How The Ghosts Stole Christmas" (Season 6, Episode 6)
Mulder and Scully's (David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson) Christmas gift exchange is one of The X-Files duo's all-time best moments after dealing with a challenging pair of elderly married ghosts.
The ghosts comically played by Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin. Episode official description on Vudu being: On Christmas Eve, Mulder and Scully find themselves trapped in a haunted house with two ghosts who are determined to prove just how lonely the holiday can be. Lily's character: I don't show my [gunshot] hole to just anybody, you know. Mulder: Did you have to show it to ME?
New Girl, "The 23rd" (Season 1, Episode 9)
The first Christmas episode of New Girl was a gem of the first season of the sitcom, bringing heart and humor (oh, Schmidt!) in equal parts.
It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, "Very Sunny Christmas" (Season 6, Episode 13)
In order to provide as much holiday cheer as possible, Always Sunny's two-parter at the end of season 6 had to be twice as long.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer, "Amends" (Season 3, Episode 10)
One of the most heartwarming moments of Angel and Buffy's romance occurs when the sun is obscured by snowfall in the only Christmas episode of Buffy, which is a low point for a memory-haunted Angel (David Boreanaz) who plans to stand outside as the sun rises (and we know how that may end for vampires). Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Angel (David Boreanaz) then go on their first-ever daytime walk through Sunnydale.
The O.C., "The Best Chrismukkah Ever" (Season 1, Episode 13)
It was "The Best Chrismukkah Ever" in the Season 1 episode in which Seth Cohen's (Adam Brody) favorite holiday was covered!
30 Rock, "Christmas Special" (Season 3, Episode 6)
What could be a more fitting theme for a holiday TV program than how one is produced? And what better way to celebrate Christmas than with your loved ones? And what better family than Jack's mother's (Elaine Stritch)?
Parks And Recreation, "Citizen Knope" (Season 4, Episode 9)
When Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), who works for Pawnee Parks and Recreation, is on leave, she discovers that she wants to get engaged in local politics. Thankfully, her friends support and encourage her as she gets ready to give what will undoubtedly be the nicest gift she has ever given. She is recognized for being a very generous gift giver, so that says a lot.
30 Rock, "Ludachristmas" (Season 2, Episode 9)
We can all support LudaChristmas, I think. (Tina Fey's) Liz Lemon and her coworkers use the made-for-TV holiday as an excuse to hide from their families, though it does have some features of Christmas (tacky sweaters, for example). Tracy Jordan is the genius behind it all, so it goes without saying that chaos and humor follow.
Cheers, "Christmas Cheers" (Season 6, Episode 12)
Everyone from the group is here! Sam ends up finding Rebecca a very last-minute gift when she asks all of the Cheers bartenders to stay and work on Christmas Eve.
Frasier, "Miracle On 3rd Or 4th Street" (Season 1, Episode 12)
After watching your favorite holiday-themed episode of Cheers, watch this gratifying Frasier episode (which, coincidentally, also involves working through the holiday).
The Twilight Zone, "Night Of The Meek" (Season 2, Episode 11)
In this vintage Twilight Zone episode, a mall Santa who's having trouble finding luck receives a Christmas miracle. "Night of the Meek" is a lovely outlier in Rod Serling's traditional cautionary tales since it is pleasant and gives a sense of optimism when many of the show's themes drift toward darker, sad parts.
South Park, "Merry Christmas Charlie Manson!" (Season 2, Episode 16)
Dark? Yes. Crass? Yes. Hilarious? Absolutely. Family friendly? Absolutely not.
My So-Called Life, "So Called Angels" (Season 1, Episode 15)
A lesson about teen homelessness is learned (and taught to us) by Angela (Claire Danes) and Rickie (Wilson Cruz) in this gloomy episode of My So-Called Life, which also features singer-songwriter Juliana Hatfield.
The West Wing, "Noël" (Season 2, Episode 10)
In "Noël," The West Wing portrays PTSD in a powerful and subtle manner. We get to see just how much preparation a US president has to take care of and how the world still continues to function, even during the moment of celebrations.
Parks And Recreation, "Christmas Scandal" (Season 2, Episode 12)
The Parks and Recreation Christmas episode is so fantastic that you can forgive the plot's obvious similarities to a classic Golden Girls episode and just enjoy the ride.
The Real Ghostbusters, "Xmas Marks The Spot" (Season 1, Episode 13)
In this beloved animated episode, the Ghostbusters help Ebenezer Scrooge's haunting to save Christmas.
Hey Arnold!, "Arnold’s Christmas" (Season 1, Episode 20)
In order to provide his daughter a safer life during the Vietnam War, he handed her to a US soldier, but he hasn't been able to find her since. As the big day draws near, Arnold and his friend Gerald try their best to locate her. Bully Helga, who is perpetually insecure, is yearning fervently for the trendy Nancy Spumoni snow boots.
Crazy Ex Girlfriend, "My Mom, Greg's Mom And Josh's Sweet Dance Moves!" (Season 1, Episode 8)
One thing that Christmas and an angry ex-partner may have in common is both can get a little too crazy. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 1 Episode 8 is pretty much what happens when both decide to go wild on the same day. Crazy squared.
I Love Lucy, "The Christmas Show" (Season 4, Episode 18)
This episode, which debuted in 1956, is notable for being the first television "flashback." With the help of their greatest holiday memories, Lucy (Lucille Ball), Ricky (Desi Arnaz), Fred (William Frawley), and Ethel (Vivian Vance) allow viewers to see major events that forever changed the gang's life. In the end, isn't that what the holiday season is all about — taking a minute to reflect on the past?
The West Wing, "In Excelsis Deo" (Season 1, Episode 10)
In addition to showing what the holiday season may be like in the White House, this Christmas-themed TV episode also focused on more serious issues that fit with the season. In spite of all the storylines, one thing is constant: the holidays are meant to be joyful, even if it's just for yourself.
Hart Of Dixie, "Blue Christmas" (Season 2, Episode 10)
What happens when a young doctor accidentally gives the town's only Santa the day off, the mayor wants to drop the question to his fiancée, and the go-to attorney is searching for the ideal Christmas gift? This Hart of Dixie episode from season 2 will have you smiling and thinking back on the simpler times of the holiday season.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show, "Christmas And The Hard-Luck Kid II" (Season 1, Episode 14)
In order to make the most of her holiday, Mary must find a way to fit both Christmas and Christmas Eve into her schedule.
The Bob Newhart Show, "His Busiest Season" (Season 1, Episode 14)
In 1972, do you remember anyone discussing seasonal depression on television? No one. Bob Newhart's on-screen role as a psychotherapist makes this a perfect fit. It's just one of the many aspects that make The Bob Newhart Show so revolutionary.
Man Men, "Christmas Waltz" (Season 5, Episode 10)
It was entertaining when Roger (John Slattery) wore a Santa outfit, but Mad Men's best holiday episode has to be this gloomy season 5 episode. Nobody wears heartbreak nearly as elegantly as Don (Jon Hamm) and Joan (Christina Hendricks) do in a bar or during Christmas in a Jaguar.
Lizzie Mcguire, "Xtreme Xmas" (Season 2, Episode 20)
The most Xtreme holiday on Lizzie McGuire had to be the Steven Tyler-assisted Xtravaganza from season 2, even though we adore the Aaron Carter Christmas episode from season 1.
Boy Meets World, "A Very Topanga Christmas" (Season 5, Episode 11)
What character from Boy Meets World's Mr. Feeny (William Daniels) could possibly make a greater Ghost of Christmas Anything?
Glee, "A Very Glee Christmas" (Season 2, Episode 10)
In recent years, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" has been appraised as a particularly annoying holiday song. Forget about that for a second and listen to Kurt and Blaine on Glee, played by Chris Colfer and Darren Criss. You're welcome.
Will & Grace, "Jingle Balls" (Season 4, Episode 12)
In this Will & Grace episode, Grace (Debra Messing) graciously plays Santa Claus for Jack (Sean Hayes) by creating a stunning holiday window display at Barneys. The spirit and glitz of Christmas are on full display.
Happy Days, "Guess Who's Coming To Christmas" (Season 2, Episode 11)
All viewers are familiar with Fonzie (Henry Winkler) as a tough, leather-jacket-adoring ladies' man. However, this episode reveals another side of him when he celebrates the holidays alone. He is fortunate to have Richie (Ron Howard) as a friend because as soon as he learns of Fonzie's plans, he is invited to the Cunningham family's Christmas celebration. This episode is all about family ties, even when they don't come from your own blood.
All In The Family, "Christmas Day At The Bunkers" (Season 2, Episode 13)
After Archie (Carroll O'Connor) finds out he won't be receiving his yearly Christmas bonus, the Bunker family is missing the cheerful, merry spirit. The rest of the family tries to soften the pain by inviting the Jeffersons over for some holiday fun while he slips into full-on Scrooge mode. Maybe, just maybe, there is a lesson in there for all of us.
Full House, "A Very Tanner Christmas" (Season 6, Episode 12)
Before starting "Nutcrackers," savor all the holiday Tanner family fun from this flashback episode (another winning Christmas episode from Fuller House season 2).
The Brady Bunch, "The Voice Of Christmas" (Season 1, Episode 12)
Nothing says "classic Christmas" like The Brady Bunch's very first holiday episode, in which Carol contracts laryngitis and worries she won't be able to sing during the family's Christmas church service.
The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, "Deck The Halls"
In the first Christmas episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, professional boxer Evander Holyfield made a guest appearance as himself.
Home Improvement, "I'm Scheming Of A White Christmas" (Season 2, Episode 12)
Tim Allen's other Christmas-themed roles are worth checking out throughout the holiday season, in addition to Scott Calvin (the star of The Santa Clause).
Family Matters, "Christmas Is Where The Heart Is" (Season 5, Episode 11)
A Winslow Christmas is one of the most perfect situations there seems to be. Every Family Matters Christmas episode has its memorable moments, but "Christmas Is Where the Heart Is" really emphasizes the theme of the show's title when Carl (Reginald VelJohnson) and Steve Urkel (Jaleel White) become caught on a train together.
Laverne And Shirley, “Oh Hear The Angel’s Voices” (Season 2, Episode 10)
No location would be a better place to celebrate Christmas than a mental hospital. Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, along with the rest of the gang, volunteer to perform a variety show in the neighborhood looney bin.
King Of The Hill, "Pretty Pretty Dresses" (Season 3, Episode 9)
With its dedication to a realistic tone, King Of The Hill distinguished itself from the other animated sitcoms. Therefore, it makes sense that its best Christmas episode would rank among the darkest Christmas comedies in history. Bill, who has been miserable his entire life, continues to sink deeper and deeper into the muck of despair as he thinks back to the day his wife Lenore left him.
The Colbert Report, "A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift Of All" (Christmas Special)
Stephen brings us into his very own Christmas cabin to enjoy some vintage music and entertainment with his own straight-faced, sarcastic take on the traditional format. Unfortunately, he is forced to stay inside for the majority of the night because he hears a bear outside. Nevertheless, a number of special guests, including Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, Jon Stewart, Feist, and John Legend join him in an attempt to escape.
Superstore, "Christmas Eve" (Season 3, Episode 7)
Everybody knows that your neighborhood megastore is the best option for your yearly Christmas photo with Santa. At least, that's what Superstore does in this episode from season 3. Before the greatest holiday of the year, Amy (America Ferrera) chooses to have fun after hearing her coworkers describe her as boring. The ideal holiday special can be created by including some problems with your roommates.
Curb Your Enthusiasm, "Mary, Joseph, And Larry" (Season 3, Episode 9)
Close to Christmas, Larry David discovers the value of generously tipping the hard way.
Fresh Off The Boat, "The Real Santa" (Season 2, Episode 10)
The Huang family does an excellent job of mocking Fresh Off the Boat's whitewashing of the holiday season, demonstrating the impact of representation — or lack thereof — in real life. (Bonus points for appointing a woman as the "Boss Santa")
Little House On The Prairie, “Christmas At Plum Creek” (Season 1, Episode 15)
Secrets are a big part of Christmas. Melissa Gilbert's character, Laura, wants to give her mother an expensive gift. Melissa Sue Anderson's character, Mary, wants to create something for her father.
The Real Housewives Of New York City, "December: Berkshires County" (Season 8, Episode 9)
Dorinda decorated. She made food. She did a wonderful job.