You’ve probably seen a million listicles at this point telling you what Christmas movies to watch this holiday season on Netflix. But for those of us with short attention spans and who have a soft-spot for holiday-themed TV episodes, sometimes it’s better to binge-watch several Christmas-themed episodes at once instead of several movies. Here’s a list of seven episodes for TV lovers like me who can’t be bothered to watch the same Christmas plot line go on for more than 30-45 minutes.
1. The Office – “Christmas Party” (Season 2, Episode 10)
“Yankee Swap!” This episode is one of my favorites overall because it has two of my favorite things in the show: classic Michael Scott throughout the entire episode, and Jim being unbelievably adorable with his teapot gift to Pam. Jim, I hate how much I love you.
2. Parks and Recreation – “Ron and Diane” (Season 5, Episode 9)
Honestly this episode is just perfect because of Jerry’s family and their “Very Gergich Christmas.” Also, when Leslie wins best-friend-of-the-year for saving Ron and Diane from Tammy 2 in one of the most hilarious scenes in this season. Also, Duke Silver. This episode has a lot of things going for it.
3. 30 Rock – “Christmas Special” (Season 3, Episode 6)
Honestly, I’m a sucker for any 30 Rock episode that showcases the incomparable Elaine Stritch, who plays Jack Donaghy’s mother Colleen. While the plot with Liz and Kenneth involving a “charity” that scams people on Christmas makes for some hearty holiday laughs, the scene where Jack and Colleen sing together after Jack realizes how much Colleen cared about her children having a merry Christmas and how much she did for them continues to be one of the most heartwarming moments in the series for me.
4. Arrested Development – “Afternoon Delight” (Season 2, Episode 6)
When George Michael won’t help his dad rebuild the Frozen Banana Stand in their annual holiday tradition because he’s too busy bein’ a teen and hangin’ with Ann (“who?”) it hit me with all the guilty feels from my angsty teenage years when I chose friends over family. The guilt aside, this episode is still hilarious – the chaos that ensues at the Christmas Party and the happy ending when George Michael comes to help rebuild the banana stand with his dad is sure to warm your heart and give you some laughs.
5. Gossip Girl – “Roman Holiday” (Season 1, Episode 11)
OK I’M SORRY IT’S ANOTHER EPISODE ABOUT PARENTS. It’s Christmas on the Upper East Side, and Blair is thrilled to have her father come to visit for the holidays – but is disappointed to find that he has brought his lover, Roman, along with him. I loved how this episode developed Blair’s character by showing her complicated relationship with her father after he left for France, and how we also learned a lot about her mother, Eleanor, through the process as well. Oh, and there’s some stuff with Serena/Dan/Vanessa and something about Serena stressing to find a good Christmas gift for Dan but I never liked Serena and Dan to begin with so I’m just going to ignore that part.
6. Friends – “The One With the Holiday Armadillo” (Season 7, Episode 10)
Yes, we always talk about how great the Friends Thanksgiving episodes are. But the Christmas episodes need some lovin’ too. This episode in particular deserves some extra love for introducing everyone’s favorite holiday mascot – the Holiday Armadillo. Oh, and for teaching us that Superman “flew all the Jews out of Egypt”.
7. Gilmore Girls – “Women of Questionable Morals” (Season 5, Episode 11)
Of course I’m ending this list with a Gilmore Girls episode. There were too many good episodes to pick from with this series, but given that this episode includes the start of Emily and Richard’s reconciliation and the iconic scene where Luke makes Lorelai an ice skating rink so that she remembers why she loves the snow gives me ALL THE FEELS.
What are some of your favorite Christmas episodes? Tweet us @litdarling.