Each year, we look for ways to get into the holiday spirit. While watching some movies set at Christmas is one way to do it, tuning into some holiday-themed episodes of your favorite TV shows can also be a fun treat — and a chance to revisit characters and worlds you haven’t seen in quite some time. From laugh-out-loud comedies to thrilling dramas, these are some of the best Christmas-themed episodes out there.
Laugh-Out-Loud Christmas-Themed Sitcom Episodes
There are plenty to choose from when it comes to great Christmas-themed sitcom episodes. Centering on Abed (Danny Pudi), Community‘s “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” is a great place to start if you’re looking to laugh away the struggles that inevitably come with the supposed joy of the holiday season. Plus, it comes complete with a nostalgia-inducing claymation segment.
Then, of course, you can always count on Parks & Rec to bring the hilarity; the Christmas-themed episode “Citizen Knope” certainly does not disappoint. It finds Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) struggling to find ways to keep herself occupied while suspended from the department. Little does she know that the entire office is plotting to create the perfect Christmas gift for her.
Or, if you’re in the mood for a little more action, check out Brooklyn Nine-Nine ‘s “Yippie Kayak.” Here, things get real when Jake (Andy Samberg), Gina (Chelsea Peretti), and Charles (Joe Lo Truglio) find themselves trapped in a department store with a robbery underway. Terry (Terry Crews) decides to abandon his own holiday plans to come to their aid in a mixture of typical sitcom fun with a Die Hard-style twist.
From Happy Endings and Schitt’s Creek to Fresh Off the Boat, here are our other top sitcom picks:
- Happy Endings: “No-Ho-Ho,” Season 3, Ep 7
- Ted Lasso: “Carol of the Bells,” S2, Ep 4
- Schitt’s Creek: “Merry Christmas, Johnny Rose,” S4, Ep 13
- Fresh Off the Boat: “The Real Santa” S2, Ep 10
- Curb Your Enthusiasm: “Mary, Joseph, and Larry,” S3, Ep 9
- It’s Always Sunny: “A Very Sunny Christmas,” S6, Ep 13
- 30 Rock: “Ludachristmas,” S2, Ep 9
Must-Watch Animated Christmas Classics
Enjoy some animated holiday fun this season with some adult (and kid-friendly) episodes of hit animated shows. Bob’s Burgers has quite a few Christmas-themed episodes that are worth a rewatch. But one of our favorites is season 7’s “The Last Gingerbread House on the Left” in which we see Bob pulled into the holiday spirit when he winds up involved in an epic gingerbread house-building competition with Mr. Fischoeder and his friends.
But, outside of hanging with the Belchers, you can also take a trip down memory lane with Hey Arnold — or see how the Land of Ooo does the holidays by tuning into Adventure Time. Our other animated picks include:
- Hey Arnold: “Arnold’s Christmas,” S1, Ep 18
- Bob’s Burgers: “The Bleakening,” S8, Eps 6/7
- Futurama: “Xmas Story,” S2, Ep 4
- Adventure Time: “Holly Jolly Secrets,” S3, Eps 19/20
Christmas with Sci-Fi and Fantastical Twists
If you find yourself in need of a break from Christmas carols and gift wrapping, check out these Christmas-themed episodes that offer something a little different. You can always count onThe X-Files for plenty of wild twists and turns — and “Christmas Carol” is no different. Scully (Gillian Anderson) visits her family for Christmas, only to receive a mysterious phone call that leads her to investigate the death of woman who may not be a stranger after all…
Black Mirror also has a classic — and very different — holiday episode called “White Christmas.” Starring Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm, it has become one of the series’ most popular installments. In typical Black Mirror fashion, three tales centering on Christmas and technology go awry and weave together satisfyingly, all while presenting you with a lot of bizarre, but not to far-fetched, concepts to mull over.
We also recommend getting a little weird this Christmas with these shows:
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “Amends,” S3, Ep 10
- Lost Girl: “Groundhog Fae,” S4, Ep 8
Add in a Litter Christmas Drama to Your TV Viewing
Looking for a bit of holiday drama? Rest assured you won’t be disappointed when you hang out with the memorable characters in Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black. From Red’s (Kate Mulgrew) attempts to reclaim her kitchen to the cast’s attempts to stage a Christmas pageant, you’ll find plenty to love about the Christmas-themed season 1 finale.
Next, get ready to party like it’s 1964 with a special Christmas episode of Mad Men that sees SCDP throw an elaborate Christmas party. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of drama to go around in the private life of the firm’s employees in the iconic “Christmas Comes But Once a Year.”
Revel in drama — the kind not caused by your own family — this season with these other standout Christmas episodes:
- My So-Called Life: “So-Called Angels,” S1, Ep 15
- Pose: “Giving and Receiving,” S1, Ep 3
- Six Feet Under: Pilot
No matter how long ago they were made, some classic comedies are just as hilarious decades later. Such is the case with the episodes you’ll find here. For example, Seinfeld‘s “The Strike” is the episode that brought the world the magic of “Festivus,” a holiday invented by George’s (Jason Alexander) dad as an answer to the commercialism of Christmas.
Or see how the Golden Girls handle the hilarity of holiday in “Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas.” From being held hostage by a Santa gone rogue to a freak winter storm, the girls keep coming up against new obstacles while attempting to make it home to their families on Christmas. Thankfully, they have their own chosen family to cherish the season with.
Looking to keep it classic? Our other picks include:
- Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: “Christmas Show,” S2, Ep 13
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show: “Christmas and the Hard Luck Kid,” S1, Ep 14
- Frasier: “High Holidays,” S11, Ep 11
No matter what genre you’re in the mood to watch, you’re sure to get into the Christmas spirit with these beloved TV shows.