The Student Newspaper of Saint Peter's Prep

The Petroc

The Student Newspaper of Saint Peter's Prep

The Petroc

The Student Newspaper of Saint Peter's Prep

The Petroc

Best Christmas Television

Best Christmas Television

Notice: This is based only on shows that I have actually watched. As such, so many classic series (like Friends) have been left off because I am not familiar with them. I’ll post some popular ones under the “Honorable Mentions” section.

  • The Office, “Christmas Party” (Season 2, Episode 10)

In my opinion, this Scranton classic is the funniest sitcom of all time. This season is also a great one because we see the characters finally start to develop after a shaky first season. This is definitely seen when we witness Pam and Jim’s relationship blossom at the party. The comedy here is also top-notch. Michael is still a buffoon who can’t adhere to corporate policies, always trying to please his employees. The Secret Santa portion is by far the best, and keeps this as the winner of the list. Kevin gets himself a present, Michael tries to outdo everyone with an iPod for Ryan, Jim gets Pam a teapot full of memories, and then all gifts are switched by Michael’s “Yankee Swap” rule. As one of the best episodes in one of the best sitcoms ever, this deserves the number one spot on this list.

  • Seinfeld, “The Strike” (Season 9, Episode 10)

This is the first episode I think of when thinking Christmas TV episodes. “Festivus” is an all-time joke in this show, with all of its oddities that perfectly reveal the character’s personalities. Kramer returns to work after a 12-year hiatus as part of a workers’ strike and learns to love the metal pole that Festivus is centered around, all to the embarrassment of George and the delight of Jerry and Elaine. The sheer wackiness that this episode presents from George’s father is both unpredictable and hilarious. This is close to the top spot.

  • Ted Lasso, “Carol of The Bells” (Season 2, Episode 4)

If you have not yet watched Ted Lasso, I am begging you to. The highs and lows of a football coach on a soccer team turn any watcher into an emotionally attached AFC Richmond fan. The heartwarming nature of this show is shown in the cultural Christmas dinner for the team as Sam and Dani bring food from their cultures; the sadness is also shown as Ted feels disconnected from his son, and depressed and alone on Christmas day. This episode also has the classic “dad humor” of Jason Sudeikis, which I can’t get enough of. It represents the essence of the show which is great, while giving a Christmas spirit, too.

  • 30 Rock, “Ludachristmas” (Season 2, Episode 9)

This episode is great because it reveals something very familiar to all: family during the holiday season. Liz and Jack’s families meet each other for dinner, showcasing Jack’s mother as a pessimist while also throwing Liz’s family into a huge argument. It captures the essence of a true family Christmas, with no sugarcoating, all while giving the show a perfect break in the season from all the craziness at 30 Rock.

  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “A Very Sunny Christmas” (Season 6, Episode 13)

In the final episode of this season, the classic comedy captures all of what the show is about in this episode with some especially funny laughs. My favorite part of this show is how enraged Frank can make his kids, Dennis and Dee, while Charlie and Mac laugh together as the clowns of the show. Here, this exact plot sequence follows, when Frank buys himself Dennis’ favorite car and Dee’s favorite purse. Furthermore, Dennis and Dee plot to scare Frank à la “Christmas Carol” with a ghost. Then, on a completely unrelated note, Charlie finds out his mother always stole presents for him. The complete wackiness that follows these events is definitely worth the watch, and is exactly why I love this show as a whole.

  • The Sopranos, “To Save Us All From Satan’s Power” (Season 3, Episode 10)

Would this list be complete without my favorite television show of all time? I think it is masterful how Christmas can make its way into a show centered around the NJ mob, only showing how double-sided the lives of these gangsters were. This episode is a great mix of drama and comedy, like most episodes are. Tony struggles with finding a new friend to play Santa. Later, Tony gets a gift of a “Big Mouth Billy Bass,” but to him, it represents rats in his own gang. The juxtaposition of comedic holiday spirit to the murder of Tony’s friend perfectly encapsulates the bipolarity of the show itself.

  • The Office, “A Benihana Christmas” (Season 3, Episode 10)

The fact that I can put two Office episodes on this list shows how worthy its Christmas episodes really are. As the other episode did, it shows Michael’s idiocracy when he pastes himself on Carol’s ex-husband’s face in their old Christmas card, causing their breakup. It also shows change in character, which is what the show does so slowly but masterfully. Jim declines Pam’s invitation to prank Dwight, as he is worried about his newfound position in the branch, while Pam and Karen also ally against Angela to throw a rival Christmas party. 

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm, “Mary, Joseph, and Larry” (Season 3, Episode 9)

While I mentioned Larry David’s masterpiece Seinfeld before, his own show Curb Your Enthusiasm could be even better. Larry is a grumpy old man who always has a problem, and always ends up in a bad spot. This pattern follows: He is annoyed with his housekeeper for gossiping about him to her friends, and his sore throat from the very first scene ends up blowing his role in a nativity scene. This show, not only this episode, is genius in how it ties back the first scene to the last one, always. It keeps the viewer on his toes, and the end is somehow always unexpected.

  • The Simpsons, “Simpsons Roasting on An Open Fire” (Season 1, Episode 1)

The first ever episode of the longest-running TV series ever, how could it not make the list? Most have likely not seen this episode, because it originally aired over 30 years ago (1989!!!). The episode itself is continuous with most Simpsons episodes, as the laughs cultivate at the end of scenes and nothing is too mind-blowing, usually. However, I felt like I had to include this episode purely as a nod to the greatness of the show as a whole, and the legendary aura surrounding its first episode.

As promised, here are honorable mentions:

  • Boy Meets World, “A Very Topanga Christmas” (Season 5, Episode 11)
  • Frasier, “High Holidays” (Season 11, Episode 11)
  • Friends, “The One With the Holiday Armadillo” (Season 7, Episode 10)
  • Dr. Who, “A Christmas Carol” (Season 6, Episode 0)