‘Tis the season for Netflix and chill. (You know what I mean) All our favorite shows are on hiatus and at the same time we have an abundance of downtime with our families. What better time to gather in front of the warm glow of our TVs and enjoy some holiday themed entertainment. By now, maybe you’ve already watched all your favorite holiday movies. Perhaps you’re sick of the same old, same old. Or maybe your free time just doesn’t come in chunks as large as it used to. Whatever the reason, I humbly offer a selection of some of my favorite fun holiday-themed TV episodes to get you in the spirit of the season.
The Office (US) - This sitcom was always the king of good Christmas episodes and there are a wealth to choose from. For my money, the best ones are Season 2’s Christmas Party, featuring Michael’s horrible game of Yankee Swap or Season 3’s A Benihana Christmas. Side note, the Office UK’s Christmas special is also excellent (assuming you’ve seen the rest of the series). It brings about resolution to Tim & Dawn’s plot (the original Jim & Pam) and David Brent is in his prime.
Chuck - It’s Christmastime at the Buy More. The employee’s prepare for a big Christmas Eve sale and Ellie and Awesome drop by to do some last minute shopping. That’s when a poor down-on-his luck shmoe crashes his car into the store and holds everyone hostage. Heroics abound from the most unlikely corners and nothing is as it seems in Season 3’s Chuck Versus Santa Claus.
30 Rock - This show took on Christmas just about every year it aired, but no subsequent Christmas episode lived up to the original, Season 2’s Ludachristmas. Tracy’s been court ordered to stay sober, Kenneth ruins the Christmas party by trying to teach the staff the true meaning of Christmas, and all hell breaks loose when Liz’s family meets Jack’s mom. Awesome cameos from no less than the likes of Buck Henry, Elaine Stritch, and Andy Richter.
Doctor Who - The Doctor does Christmas every year, whether he likes it or not and you can’t go wrong picking one, they’re almost all gems. The Christmas Invasion featuring 9’s regeneration into 10 is a particular favorite of mine. Christmas also brought the first appearance of Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble in The Runaway Bride. The 11th Doctor’s take on the classic A Christmas Carol is another favorite. Maybe avoid The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe, but otherwise take your pick. Ooh, I just remembered Voyage of the Damned (the space Titanic one)! Like I said, so many good ones!
Justice League Unlimited - All the heroes celebrate differently. Flash works together with a baddie to bring a hot toy to some needy kids, Hawkgirl and Green Lantern frolic in the snow and Superman brings J’onn home to the Kents for Christmas in the only standalone episode of the series, Comfort and Joy.
Sports Night - This wonderful-but-short-lived Aaron Sorkin sitcom gave us two Christmas episodes in its short lifetime and they’re both pretty swell. In Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee, the anchors go out of their way to thank the crew at Christmas time and Issac risks his job to stand up in the face of racism. In The Reunion, Dana learns to forgive her brother for a big mistake and Secret Santa hijinks abound.
Friends - This sextuplet never let the holidays go by unmarked, sometimes to great effect, other times, not so much. One highlight is a heartwarming tale of friendship and skiing in Season 3’s The One Where Rachel Quits. In Season 7, Monica learns what comes of being nice to her neighbors in The One with All the Candy and Ross tries to teach his son about his Jewish heritage in The One with The Holiday Armadillo.
South Park - It’s infantile and disgusting while simultaneously hilarious, and it created some of the best holiday novelty songs in recent memory. It’s not Christmas without Season 1’s Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo.
So fire up your favorite streaming service while you wrap gifts or snuggle your loved ones tight and enjoy some of these TV holiday classics. Happy Holidays!