It’s a week until Christmas and I’m getting really excited. I’ve always loved Christmas, and now that I have 3 young children in my life it’s even more fun. I just love the whole feeling of the holiday. Being warm and cozy by the fire, staying in my pajama’s all day, and most of all watching Christmas programs. Everyone has their list of favorite Christmas movies and I’m no exception. I thought today though I would focus on another Christmas watching tradition I started a few years ago; watching Christmas episodes of my favorite TV shows. This is a great way to get a holiday TV fix even if you don’t have time to watch a whole movie. Most of these episodes do not require you to know much about the over arching season story to enjoy them. So, even if you’ve never seen an episode of the show mentioned you will still enjoy the Christmas episodes. I’ve whittled this list down to my top 5 episodes. (with one bonus choice because I couldn’t help myself), so here we go!
Community season 1 ep 12 “Comparative Religion”: Community might be one of the most creative sitcoms to come on television in the last decade. What started as a show about a man who faked his law degree having to go back to school to get a real degree has become a show that takes existing genres and TV tropes and turns them on their heads. This episode from the first season finds the study group figuring out the best way to celebrate the upcoming holiday when they all come from such different religious backgrounds. What I love about the episode (besides how funny it is) is how respectful it is of uber Christian Shirley’s character. Shirley is going through a divorce and so has decided her study group is her new family. This leads her to insensitively push her religious leanings on their holiday party and it makes the other members of the group very uncomfortable, The show points out how wrong Shirley is, but it also allows her feelings to be given value and her study group friends are still there for her even she when she goes a little crazy. It’s a lovely message about coming together at the holiday season. Plus it is absolutely hysterical. Some other highlights to look for
- Anthony Michael Hall guest starring as a bully who desperately wants to fight Jeff (Joel McHale)
- The discussion of all the different religions represented in the group and the jokes that come from that
- Shirley’s religiously neutral version of “Silent Night” that is sung over the credits.
- This joke
How I Met Your Mother season 2 ep 11 “How Lily Stole Christmas”: How I Met Your Mother sees the main character Ted Mosby telling his future children the story of how he met their mom. The show isn’t one of my favorites now, (they’ve been on the air too long), but season 2 might be the best season of the show. This episode deals with the fallout of Lily calling off her engagement to Ted’s best friend Marshall. The two have gotten back together but Ted isn’t quite over what Lily did. This leads to tension around the holidays. Highlights of this episode include
- future Ted using the term “grinch” to describe Lily and being quick to tell us that he wasn’t actually calling her a grinch, but rather a much worse word.
- Barney falling asleep during his “legen…wait for …dary” catchphrase because he’s so sick
- This throw away joke
The Office season 2 ep 10 “Christmas Party”: Oh this episode. This episode has given me so many Christmas gems. Michael (the hilarious Steve Carell) gets upset when his secret Santa gift is only a homemade oven mitt so he decides to do a YAAAAANKEEEE SWAAAP instead. This was the first episode of “The Office” I ever saw and I was immediately hooked. It is quite literally laugh out loud funny. Some highlights
- “Well, Happy Birthday Jesus. Sorry your party’s so lame.”
- “Presents are the best way to show someone how much you care. It is like this tangible thing that you can point to and say ‘Hey man, I love you this many dollars worth.'”
- “Angela drafted me into the party planning committee. Her memo said that we need to prepare for every possible disaster. Which to me, seems… excessive.”
- The Yankee Swap Exchange:
Veronica Mars season 1 ep 10 “An Echolls Family Christmas: When it was announced that “Veronica Mars” would continue as a movie in 2014 I almost passed out from excitement. This show was one of my favorites when I was in high school. The series focuses on a high school private detective named Veronica and the first season finds her solving “cases of the week” while also trying to figure out who is behind the murder of her best friend Lily Kane. (It’s definitely noir television). Even if you’ve never seen an episode of this show you can watch this episode without being confused. There is one mystery of the week and not much else is mentioned about the season long mystery. I love this episode because it features some first rate snark between Veronica and her love hate partner Logan Echolls. Other highlights include:
- Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin as Logan’s parents
- The way Veronica reveals she knows who stole the money (the shots and the music and the look of glee on her face are amazing)
- “Annoy tiny blonde one. Annoy like the wind”
- I couldn’t find a clip of the above line (which is my favorite) so I’m including this one, but be warned there are spoilers so don’t watch it if you are planning on seeing the whole episode at some point
American Dreams season 1 ep 10 “Silent Night”: This was a show on NBC in the early part of the 2000’s that followed a young girl named Meg Pryor (Brittany Snow) living in Philadelphia in the early 1960’s. She is a dancer on the popular teen show “American Bandstand.” This show was amazing and I’m still so sad that only one out of its three seasons is available on DVD. I think because of all the really expensive music that is used on the show the DVD’s are too expensive to produce, but it’s really a shame. The Christmas episode features Meg and her dance partner on the show, Jimmy Riley, being chosen as one of the favorite couples of the year. This means they will need to kiss under the mistletoe which freaks Meg out because 1)She and Jimmy are not really together 2) She’s never kissed anyone before and 3) She is afraid it will make her actual crush Luke (her younger sister’s piano teacher) upset. This show is adorable there is really no other way to describe it. If you can watch this episode you really should. Highlights include
- The dinner scenes between the family being the most realistic I have ever seen on TV (everyone talking over each other)
- The 60’s era music
- The wonderful montage at the end of the episode set to Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
- Again I couldn’t find just a quick clip of this episode but I’m including the whole last part of the episode because it’s hard to find this anywhere but on DVD, and it’s super amazing. Once again spoiler alert (skip to 8:49 to see the montage I’m talking about)
I have to mention one more from “Community” season 2. This episode finds Abed imagining that everything in his life is stop motion animated. The reasons why are explained in the plot. I had to include this on my list because visually this episode is stunning! Take a look at the opening credits below
So there you have it! Just a few of my favorite Christmas television episodes. Feel free to leave your own nominations in the comments!