Natasha McDonald illustration for best holiday episodes in sitcoms by Kristin Auld

It’s That Time of Year! Here’s the 5 Best Sitcom Holiday Episodes

Grab some hot chocolate and get cozy by the fire with your favorite television pals.
December 8, 2019
6 mins read

College students across America are currently plagued by the dilemma that occurs every year during this time: the struggle of trying to get into the Christmas spirit whilst also being flooded with term papers, flashcards and Quizlet reviews. While you may not have time to haul out the holly or deck the halls, you can easily begin to feel a little bit festive by popping on a holiday special during your study break, pouring yourself a mug of hot cocoa and getting comfy with a Christmas throw. Here are five sitcom holiday episodes that will take you from feeling like the Grinch to Buddy the Elf faster than you can name all eight reindeer.

1. “The Holiday Armadillo” from “Friends” Season 7, Episode 10

This episode of “Friends” might be one of the most memorable holiday sitcom episodes of the series and perhaps of all time, and for good reason. The episode finds the gang preparing for the holiday season and the traditions that come along with them.

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However, the episode deviates from the traditional cheesy and predictable Christmas episode as Ross runs into an issue at the costume rental store and receives a suit of a Southwestern critter instead of jolly St. Nick, resulting in the creation of a new festive friend, the holiday armadillo, which Ross uses to teach his son, Ben, about Hanukkah. This “Friends” episode is full of hilarious moments throughout, and is a great watch if you are in the mood for some early-2000s nostalgia and some Cole Sprouse cuteness.

2. “How Lily Stole Christmas” from “How I Met Your Mother” Season 2, Episode 11

Season 2 of “How I Met Your Mother” was interesting in the fact that it was the only time in the series where we see Lily without her beloved “Marshmallow.” The episode uses the element of their separation to drive the plot. It begins with Ted deciding that he is not going to spend Christmas with any relatives, but instead with the rest of his buddies.

Things don’t go as planned though when Lily finds an unpleasant message left by Ted on the answering machine back when Lily and Marshall were split up, in which Ted calls Lily “kind of a grinch,” which might be passable except that it is implied that the word actually used was something offensive and that “grinch” was used in its place to make the story shareable to Ted’s children. Like most sitcoms, particularly holiday episodes, things work out in the end when everyone makes amends by bailing Ted out of a Christmas dinner at his uber religious cousin’s place and celebrates with some brews.

3). “Office Christmas Party” from “The Office” Season 2, Episode 10

Ah… “The Office.” Who doesn’t love to take a trip to Scranton, PA with Michael, Dwight, Jim, Pam and the rest of the Dunder Mifflin crew? I know I do, especially when it’s a holiday-themed episode. As per usual, nothing ever goes right when Dunder Mifflin regional manager Michael Scott is involved, and this episode is no exception. With the holiday season upon them, the office crew is trying to get in the holiday spirit when Michael suggests the bunch participate in a good, old-fashioned Yankee-swap gift exchange.

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The swap heads south though when the employees have a free-for-all over an iPod (which was way over the set limit of $20) that Michael has given to Ryan. This holiday episode provides moments of sweetness along with comedy as it includes a pivotal moment for the budding relationship between officemates Jim and Pam: the gifting of the iconic blue teapot.

4). “Citizen Knope” from ”Parks and Recreation” Season 4, Episode 10

In a similar vein to “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation,” which was created by Micheal Scur, who also worked on “The Office,” is a great sitcom to watch if you love the banter amongst the diverse characters. Add in a little bit of holiday zest, and the sitcom becomes twice as enjoyable to watch. In a typical Lesie Knope fashion, this episode finds the lovable leader hard at work in the Parks department.

This time, however, she is on a two week long suspension from work after a scandal. The rest of the parks crew make it their mission to surprise Leslie, the queen of special and deeply personal gifts, with her own special Christmas creation. The episode is quite well-rounded as it also includes Ben searching for a new job and Leslie working on her campaign. And it wraps up (pun intended) nicely with the Parks team revealing their hard work to a very appreciative Ms. Knope.

5). “Yippie Kayak” from “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” Season 3, Episode 10

This newer sitcom has quickly become a fan favorite, and I would like to believe that the fantastic holiday episodes featured in every season are to thank. Yes, the Halloween heist episodes are debatably more notable than the Christmas or Thanksgiving ones, but the other holiday episodes shine in their own way.

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In this holiday episode of the sitcom, viewers find everyone’s favorite goofball, Jake Peralta, in his dream scenario where Boyle and Gina are victims in the robbing of a department store, as the incident is like “Die Hard” (Peralta’s favorite movie) come to life. Viewers are sure to enjoy the many laughs provided from this part of the episode, along with the extremely relatable storyline that occurs when Amy, Holt and Rosa are seen participating in a polar plunge, with Amy being the only one eager to participate. This episode is perfect for those who want a little more action and suspense than the typical holiday episode allows for.

It can seem darn near impossible to feel fun and festive when you’re up to your knees in tests, quizzes, papers and dreaded group presentations. However, with some simple additions of Christmas cheer a la holiday episodes of your favorite shows like “Friends,” “The Office” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” you can make your study breaks a bit more merry and joyful.

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