Top 5 Holiday Episodes from Popular TV Shows

Sari Eisen, Staff Writer

I am almost positive I can speak for every American when I say that holiday movies and television shows are the best part of the winter holiday season. Between the classic Hallmark movies that all have the same plot (but are nonetheless joyful), and new-and-exciting Netflix originals (cheesy, but also pretty good), any type of movie involving jingle bells brings a smile to our faces. But how come no one talks about holiday-filled television shows? Countless of America’s most-watched television shows have holiday episodes, many of which are just as good–if not better than–the movie classics. Below is a list of my top 5 favorite Christmas/holiday episodes from popular television shows. 


**Disclaimer: I have a weird taste in TV, so don’t judge my selection, but they are my favorites.**

  • Friends: The One With The Holiday Armadillo

While Friends may be the perfect show in everyone’s mind, the consensus of “best episodes” never includes this one, and I am offended. To give a quick summary: Ross attempts to teach his son Ben about Hanukkah while he is surrounded by Christmas. In doing so, Ross tries to rent a holiday-related costume, but the only one left at the store is an armadillo, so he made do. The “Holiday Armadillo” became the mascot of Hanukkah, bringing love and joy just as Santa would. What makes this episode so special is the fact that even though the Holiday Armadillo was focusing on Hanukkah, it acted as a neutral mascot of the holidays, bringing cheer to the season without adhering to a specific religion. And, of course, the incredibly funny jokes that live in every Friends episode are present in this one as well. 


  1. Full House: A Very Tanner Christmas

Full House has something to offer for anyone and everyone. And the fact that there’s a holiday episode…who could ask for more? With the underlying message of avoiding materialism during the holidays, this episode features the wish for a snowy white Christmas, a classic Tanner family Christmas party, and a visit from Santa Claus (who may or may not be Vicky). Uncle Jesse even mentions volunteering at Salvation Army when he was younger in an attempt to give back to his community. This episode really has it all and has no trouble painting a smile on its viewers’ faces. 


  1. Glee: A Very Glee Christmas

While this episode is the most Christmas-y (as opposed to generic “holidays”) on the list, that does not mean it lacks the ability to bring the holiday spirit to all. Brittany’s belief in Santa Claus is one of her most classic moments, and the group’s classroom caroling provides great tunes for the Glee soundtrack. In fact, one of my favorite Glee songs is in this episode: Last Christmas. Overall, this episode hits all the notes (see what I did there?) of a cheesy Hallmark movie, but throws in Glee music to make it even better. 


  1. Seinfeld: The Strike

When mentioning Hanukkah around any Seinfeld fan, it is inevitable that the word “Festivus” will come to mind. In case you aren’t familiar, Festivus is a holiday that George’s dad made up to provide a secular alternative to the often religious spirit during the winter season. This holiday occurs on Christmas eve eve (December 23rd), and is meant to focus on family and gratitude rather than the giving of gifts. Because of how iconic this episode is to Americans, I felt like it had to be included on this list. In addition to Festivus, this Seinfeld episode also features several running jokes, including Kramer returning to his bagel job after a 12-year strike, Jerry’s girlfriend whom he only finds attractive some of the time, and Elaine’s debacle with a man in a denim vest.


  1. New Girl: LAXmas

While the overall New Girl series may be slightly cheesy (okay, very cheesy), its holiday episode in season 4 brings about the holiday mood quite well. Here, the whole gang heads to the airport to go their separate ways for Christmas, but flight cancellations make it hard for anyone to get where they need to go. Especially Jess, who is trying to fly to her boyfriend’s home in London but gets her gifts stolen by a “reverse Santa” in the airport. This episode contains the perfect balance of tacky-yet-funny jokes and heartwarming storyline. I felt that for these reasons, the New Girl holiday episode had to be included among the top 5. 


Well, what are you waiting for? Go make some hot chocolate, put on fuzzy socks, find a comfortable blanket, and start watching these holiday episodes! If you feel so inclined, make your own list of your favorite holiday-themed television show episodes and send it my way.