Favorite December Holiday Episodes By Sam Dinsmoor (December 25, 2018, 8:00 am)
Doctor Who, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
For this holiday season, in true TV-loving fashion, the SpoilerTV team got together to talk about their all-time favorite festive episodes. Our choices go as far back as the days of M*A*S*H to as recently as The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. So sit back, relax, drink a glass of eggnog or two and see what episodes made the cut for our team, then let us know in the comments below what are your favorite December holiday episodes.
Even Stevens - Heck of a Hanukkah
Sam D: In a hilarious parody of It’s a Wonderful Life, after wrecking his Hanukkah and Christmas presents, Louis Stevens wishes he was never born and finds himself in a world where instead of him being part of the family, it’s a pseudo-perfect middle son who turns out to be not-so-perfect. Not only was this a funny episode, but it also gave light to interfaith families and taught about the history of Hanukkah, which was fairly rare in the time this episode aired.
Grey's Anatomy - Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
Mads: I feel like this is such an iconic Grey's episode. The image of Meredith, Izzie, and George lying under their decorated Christmas tree and simply enjoying each other's company is a great one and the religious conflicts in the episode faced by Burke and Christina with a young boy's heart transplant and Derek with his own patient. I watched this episode for the first time near Christmas time and it'll always have a special place in my heart.
Hart of Dixie - Blue Christmas
Mads: As a big Zoe x Wade shipper this episode was a fantastic and really sweet one for them. Plus I just loved seeing the whole town of BlueBell in full Christmas mood. This is one of my favorite feel-good shows of all time so just being able to watch a special Christmas-themed episode during winter breaks is always the best.
Beth: Christmas time in Bluebell is a dose of happy and this episode embodied that. The whole town was dressed up and the spirit of the season was everywhere. The best part however was the Christmas miracle of Zoe going to Wade, heart in hand to ask him to be with her. It was one of the sweetest and most romantic moments in their journey, and I still watch that episode whenever I need a pick me up.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - A Very Sunny Christmas
Mads: If you're looking for some dark comedy on Christmas then look no further than this Christmas special of IASIP. I remember laughing hysterically during this scene and I still have to rewatch Charlie's Santa outburst about ten times every time I rewatch.
M*A*S*H - Death Takes a Holiday
Donna: The unit host a Christmas party for the orphans while in the OR. Hawkeye, BJ, and Margaret try to save the life of a critically injured soldier so his family won’t think of Christmas as the day he died.
Doctor Who - A Christmas Carol, Last Christmas, And The Time of the Doctor
A Christmas Carol
Donna: Beautifully told story of Doctor Who and a curmudgeon. Doctor Who plays the ghost of Christmas past and makes him re-live his romance with a young woman that was dying but could be taken out of her cryogenic chamber one day a year. Beautiful performances from Matt Smith, Michael Gambon and Katherine Jenkins.
Zoé: Such an enticing Christmas special. It truly gets into the heart of Christmas and some of the darker, lonelier aspects of the holiday. Doctor Who always has memorable Christmas specials and I'm sad there won't be one this year (but otherwise excited for the New Year's special).
The Time of the Doctor
Sandi: I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Matt Smith, but then again I never was going to be ready. It was fitting that he had a good send off in Christmas at Christmas, after defending it for so many years.
Chuck - Chuck vs Santa Claus
Donna: Features a hostage crisis at the Buy More during Christmas. Such a lovely moment between Chuck and Sarah (Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski) when Chuck gives Sarah his mother’s charm bracelet.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Yippie Kayak
Milo: One of the show's finest hours, this show paid tribute to Jake's obsession with Die Hard with its own inspired parody in a fantastic way, putting Boyle, Gina and Jake in the middle of a hostage situation at a store. It was an entertaining episode that got the best out of every cast member as this show does so often, and immortalised Boyle's butchery of the famous Die-Hard quote. Yippie Kayak, Other Buckets.
The Simpsons - Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire
Milo: Remember when The Simpsons was must watch TV? I miss those days when I could look forward to every episode that I had to watch next on my list and it could be an instant classic. I came to the series very late, but I had a wealth of material to delve into and this episode, which was where it all began even all those many seasons later still stuck with me as one of the best episodes of the show. It's a classic storyline that works so very well and as for me, the first introduction to The Simpsons was one that will never be forgotten.
Lost - The Constant
Milo: I still haven't watched the last two seasons of Lost yet but this episode is phenomenal, and yes, it is technically a Christmas episode. Desmond's flashbacks to his past was a real gamechanger for me, and this was an emotional roller-coaster that stands as one of my favourite episodes of the series. It's a time-travel episode that hits all the right notes, and really stands out for me.
Eureka - Do You See What I See
Jennise: Honestly, the motto of the town of Eureka should have been "*hit Happens". Christmas Eve was no different. When this machine broke the sheriff's kids were playing with a HoloBook, that didn't just create a holographic story directed by the kids...the story was transferred to the town of Eureka. This episode went through dozens of styles of animation and managed to tell a story that not only made sense but was really sweet. I wanted to join the party at the end of the episode.
Community - Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas
Katherine: First of all, it's stop-motion, like most of the Christmas shows I watched as a child (and maybe still watch). So I am automatically drawn to it. Secondly, it's Community, where a rag-tag fugitive fleet of disparate people come together and help one of their own figure out his feelings about the true meaning of Christmas. Along the way they learn a few things about themselves, too.
The Twilight Zone - Night of the Meek
Jennise: This episode originally aired in Dec. 1960. They remade it in 1985 and I have to admit the longer episode time made room for a couple of changes that made for a slightly better episode, but I decided to nominate the original. A department store, Henry Corwin, Santa with a drinking problem, has trouble understanding why Santa can't visit the kids in the ghetto like he is for the kids at the department store where he worked. He's fired for getting drunk and missing work. He finds a garbage bag in an alley. It's Santa's gift bag. He spends the best night of his life giving to everyone with a wish. When a friend notes that there was nothing in the bag for him, Henry says his only wish is to be ale to give to others like this all the time. He's later met by an elf who climbs aboard the reindeer driven sleigh with him and they fly away. It's the true meaning of Christmas.
The Wonder Years - Christmas
Katherine: Kevin, the main character, tries to make his friend/crush Winnie's first Christmas without her brother (who died in Vietnam) a happy one. Or at least better. Since I loathe Christmas episodes generally this one stays close to my heart for how genuine and honest and real it feels.
Black Mirror - White Christmas
Katherine: The creepy series moves away from stand-alone stories for this, um, holiday offering? And gives us instead three vaguely interconnected stories. Do you prefer your holidays scary instead of sappy? Look no further.
Into The Dark - Pooka!
Claire: Recently released by Netflix, I was blown away by the depths of strangeness, sadness and despair that this episode went to. We watch as Wilson, an unemployed actor, slogs his way through life and things seem just slightly askew. He meets strange new people and takes a job as a costumed character to promote ‘the’ new holiday toy. He also falls for a beautiful woman with a young son. We’re never quite sure what is real and what’s not and in the final scene it is revealed that everything we’ve watched for ninety minutes has been a delusion of our main character’s. Wilson is lying by the side of a road where he has just caused an auto accident killing his son, wife and two strangers; each of whom having haunted his ‘dream.’ I was riveted by this episode and felt that it was just brilliant. Also, there is a hauntingly beautiful performance by wonderful, character actress Dale Dickey.
The Odd Couple - Scrooge Gets An Oscar
Claire: This episode has everything; a modern retelling of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol with Oscar Madison as the ubiquitous Ebenezer Scrooge. Oscar hates Christmas and refuses Felix and the gang’s request to play Scrooge in their local production for charity. He won’t relent and kicks them all out of his apartment and after eating too much spicy food falls into a dream sequence. With all of his friends playing the various Dicken’s characters in his dream (especially funny was Al Molinaro as ‘tiny’ Tim), Oscar awakens to find he has found the Christmas spirit. The feeling of the episode is enough to get me in the Christmas mood; the fake snow constantly falling in the background, the finding of ones’s Christmas spirit, the muted colors that the episode was filmed in and the superb talents of the cast, especially Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.
The O.C. - The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn’t and The Best Chrismukkah Ever
The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn’t Ida: I love all the holiday episodes from the O.C. and there’s just something magical about Seth’s super holiday Chrismukkah (A mix between Christmas and Hanukkah for you guys who haven’t seen The O.C.). Even though there is always plenty of drama in the O.C., I just loved how Summer really fought for Chrismukkah in this episode and how everybody came together at the end of the episode. I mean, who doesn’t love a little Chrismukkah miracle?
The Best Chrismukkah Ever
Beth: Oh Seth Cohen, you found a way to invent a holiday that brought in both your parent's background and some how it makes total sense! This was the first holiday season spent in The OC and for Ryan Atwood, it was a moment that truly made him see that this family was his as well. As Ryan heartbreakingly describes his past Christmas experiences to the Cohens, it made sense as to why he wasn't quite in the spirit. But by episodes end, he was hanging his own stocking by the fire as his adopted family looked on and it was clear that Ryan had finally found a home that wanted him. I will never forget that final shot with the Chrismukkah card that had all the names including Ryan. Still one of my favorites after all these years.
Francesco: It's such a heartfelt and lovely episode. With this episode, The OC managed to create a special atmosphere and a unique tradition that will return in the following season.
The Big Bang Theory - The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis
Ida: ?I just love this episode because I thought it was so funny how Sheldon was struggling with finding a Christmas gift for Penny and ended up hugging her for the first time after she gave him the perfect gift which was a signed napkin from Lenoard Nimoy. It was just a really funny and sweet episode surrounded by Christmas.
The Flash - The Man in the Yellow Suit and The Present The Man in the Yellow Suit
Naomi: This was such an emotionally charged episode. Barry confessed his true feelings to Iris, had gut wrenching scenes with his dad, Henry and of course the final reveal of Dr. Wells being the Reverse Flash. Ahhh, it was so good. Tom C. looking into the camera with the spooky "Merry Christmas". LOL! Loved it!
Naomi: Emotional as they are during Christmas season as usual, The Flash writers have Barry find out that Iris is gonna die when he travels to the future; he's all torn up about it when he comes back to the present. Because he loves her so much he presents her with keys to their own place as a Christmas present along with a touching speech about spending every moment he can with her. I need Kleenex every time I see it even now!
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - A Midwinter's Tale
Luana: I'm in love with this show, it's so much fun, and so dark. And this was the perfect Christmas episode no only expanding on what this holiday means in the show's mythology and introducing a very interesting entity, but also bringing all the feels by letting us see a bit more of Sabrina's mom.
Zandaral: For a completely different Christmas episode, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, A Midwinters Tale. You had enough to make any Dickens fan smile with Sabrina's own ghostly tale and heartfelt moments as well with her mother. I even liked there very sinister version of the grinch!
The Office - Christmas Party
Zoé: The episode that really got me hooked on The Office. It was a hilarious and very real take on an office Christmas party. The chaos that ensues when the "stealing" begins is pure comedy gold.
Victoria - Comfort and Joy
Zoé: An interesting continuation of the finale. I was particularly interested in how Alfred was faring after what happened with Drummond and thankfully I didn't have to wait for season three. It's festive and historical, with a mix of whimsy, family, and holiday depression.
Sandi: This made for a perfect Xmas Day treat. Albert trying to make the day perfect while oblivious to his wife's obvious annoyance, especially at the invite of her mother back to the palace. I'm rather disappointed that there won't be another episode this year.
Friends - The One with Christmas in Tulsa
Shirleena: Chandler is forced to work on Christmas which keeps him in Tulsa away from Monica. It's one of the emotional episodes of Friends, which made it so great. Various holiday, Monica and Chandler clips. While Chandler was in Tulsa he sends his co-workers home so they can be with their families on Christmas eve. The only one that stayed was Wendy a woman that ended up making a move on Chandler. Chandler quickly told Wendy that he was "happily married" Wendy replied by "if you're marriage is so great, why are you spending Christmas with me?" That made Chandler think, and he got on the next flight out to New York to be with his wife. Everyone was surprise to see Chandler walk through the door. Even surprised to find out that Chandler finally quit his job.
Gilmore Girls - Forgiveness and Stuff
Francesco: In Gilmore Girls tradition, we have a funny, but an intense and dramatic episode that explores the family dynamics even more. It can really relate to you if you hate Christmas parties.
Buffy - Amends
Francesco: One of the best episodes of the season, and one of my favorite of the show. While everyone keeps mentioning how warm is Christmas in California, an unexpected winter storm comes and we have a confrontation between Buffy and Angel before the dawn that is so heartbreaking and intense. The usual mix of comic relief and drama.
Zandarl: Angel is Haunted by his previous victims and even Buffy gets to see his past making her believe other forces are at work. Angel decides to wait until sunrise and end it all. Buffy talks him out of it in a beautiful scene.
Arrested Development - Afternoon Delight
Sandi: The Bluth Company throws a Christmas office party, what could possibly go wrong ...
The X-Files - How the Ghosts Stole Christmas
Jennise: A Christmas ghost story. How awesome! This bizarre idea was made better by the casting of Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin as the two ghosts worried about their position on the ghost hunting tours and books. The two ghosts play a mind game on Scully and Mulder that leaves them both bleeding on the floor of the entry way. They escape and exchange presents later in Mulder's apartment, but really....it was a Christmas ghost story!
Supernatural - A Very Supernatural Christmas
Lisa: I still love watching this every year, especially as it got it's own title card and mimicked the CBS special card for 70s Christmas specials. It has a bad Santa, badly sung Christmas Carols, and flashbacks to Dean and Sam's childhood, confirming that Dean basically raised Sam and looked out for him his whole life. It's also Dean wanting to have a special day with his brother because he was dying at the end of that year, having given up his soul to bring Sam back from the dead. At first, Sam can't bring himself to celebrate, but in the end, makes the day special for his brother. Also? They kill the actual monsters in the show with a decorated Christmas tree!
That's it for the team's favorite episodes. Now, what are yours? Sound off in the comments.