For television viewers, holiday-themed episodes are one of the most highly anticipated moments of the year. Although many Christmas episodes fall flat, a few stand out as not only strong holiday episodes, but also as legitimately good episodes of television. Ranging from ridiculously wild to genuinely heartfelt, the episodes are all entertaining ways to get into the holiday spirit. This holiday season, enjoy the top 5 picks for best Christmas episodes.
1. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia “A Very Sunny Christmas”
In this hilarious Always Sunny episode, the gang relives the fond memories of their childhood Christmases – sort of. Charlie and Mac reminisce about their Christmases, only to discover in telling their stories that as children, Mac and his family stole presents from neighbors and that Charlie’s mom was a wild alcoholic that invited many “Santas” over to their home on Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, Dennis and Dee vow to avenge Frank for never buying them Christmas presents by reuniting him with his former business partner Eugene whom he scammed decades ago, only to discover that Eugene is now a priest who forgives Frank for his misdeeds. It’s one of the funniest Always Sunny episodes that stays true to the wild predicaments the gang always seems to find themselves in.
2. Arrested Development “Afternoon Delight”
The holiday episode of this cult classic centralizes around the Bluth Company office Christmas Party. At the time, G.O.B. has been appointed President of the Company and considering he’s clueless when it comes to actual business, he wears a $2,600 suit to the party to gain respect and prove his superiority. The episode finds its title in the hilarious scene where Michael and Maeby take the stage for some holiday karaoke, without realizing that “Afternoon Delight” may not be the most appropriate song for his teenage niece. Between Michael’s embarrassment and the roasting of G.O.B. by the office employees, Arrested Development creates a solid, unconventional Christmas television episode.
3. The Office “A Benihana Christmas”
Like “Afternoon Delight”, this famed episode of The Office is also centered around an office Christmas party – or rather, three. The show is kicked off with typical Michael Scott ignorance when he hits a goose with his car, declares it a “Christmas Miracle,” then vows to cook the goose for dinner. The office Christmas party eventually gets separated into three groups: Angela’s party, Pam and Karen’s party, and Michael’s group that heads to a Benihana restaurant. Despite party tensions, the entire office staff eventually unites in one party – with the Benihana restaurant waitresses whom Michael and Andy mark with a Sharpie in order to remember which one is their “girlfriend.” The juxtaposition of Angela’s karaoke rendition of The Little Drummer Boy and Michael’s vow to take his Benihana waitress to Jamaica rounds out one of the funniest and most dysfunctional episodes of The Office.
4. Seinfeld “The Strike”
Each year, “The Strike” airs specially on December 23rd, honoring the holiday of “Festivus” created by George’s father, as a rebuttal against the “commercial and religious aspects of Christmas.” While George sulks, and Jerry and Elaine mock George’s father for his silly holiday and traditions — which includes setting up an aluminum pole rather than Christmas tree — Kramer latches onto Festivus, resuming his 12 year strike at H&H Bagels in order to celebrate. In the end, the whole crew heads to George’s parents house for Festivus dinner, and after Kramer bails, George is left to assume “the feats of strength by fighting his father.” Festivus has long become a famous symbol in all of Seinfeld history and it made for a hilarious plotline in this holiday episode.
5. “A Charlie Brown Christmas”
Okay, technically this is a made-for-TV movie, but it’s twenty five minutes long and only shown on the small screen, so it can be classified as a television special. Arguably one of the best Charlie Brown television episodes, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a classic that follows gloomy Charlie Brown in his pursuit to find the true meaning of Christmas, as he is upset by the selfishness of his friends. He finds this meaning in the famed Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, a tiny, bare sapling for which he is ridiculed — but eventually, the kids and Snoopy unite around this unconditional tree to end the episode with “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” This Christmas special is timeless and never fails to incite holiday spirit among all viewers.