Happy holidays! As we all know, there are many holiday specials on the docket for this time of year, but we thought we’d draw attention to our favorite regular ol’ shows who have a bit of holiday spirit in ’em…
So without further adieu, here are our favorite Xmas-or-other-holiday-adjacent episodes of TV from the past 25 years. Now, sure, this is not a complete list… Doctor Who fans, we KNOW there is a great holiday episode every year, that’s a given. And fans of Parks & Rec or The OC… WE SEE YOU. These are just our personal faves that we wanted to send up at the time… give us your favorite recs on social!
Community – “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”
Truth be told, Community paid a lot of solid props to the holiday season through its run on NBC. But nothing hit as hard or as brilliantly as this Claymation classic; anchoring its love of both holiday cheer and geekiness in Abed (is ANY fictional character as great a representation for our peeps, bless you Danny Pudi!), this episode is heart and soul a classic.
Seinfeld – “The Strike”
YEP… 1997 was a landmark year for holiday cheer. Because, in addition to the usual wintry wonderland, we received the greatest fake holiday OF ALL TIME. Your mileage may vary on Seinfeld, but it’s hard to dispute that the episode that birthed Festivus wasn’t an all-time classic. It inspired a Ben & Jerry’s flavor, by God! (Personal note: I still grieve for that ice cream. Caramel, cinnamon and crushed gingerbread cookies? That s**t was DELICIOUS.)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Yippie Kayak”
Look, it’s impossible to pinpoint a peak moment in the history of the Nine-Nine so far. This Backstreet Boys moment is WAY up top. But… if you are looking for solid, soulful reasons why NBC decided to save this show from obscurity, the episode where Jake’s love of Die Hard during the holidays melded into a REAL Die Hard situation is top of the list. The fact that Boyle couldn’t get the catchphrase right is doubly funny if you realize that, when they are dubbing Die Hard for TV or airplane broadcast, “Yippie Kayak” is probably EXACTLY what they would go with.
South Park – “Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo”
You didn’t think we would forget about this, did you?! Yes, there have been some heartfelt holiday episodes full of clean-cut cheer and what not. But there is *no getting past* the fact that in 1997, South Park introduced a legend of holiday cheer who is also a scatalogical legend unto himself. Your mileage may vary, but for sheer chutzpah, this is a CLASSIC. (No full clips were available on YouTube, but enjoy the song! For more clips from the episode, check out Comedy Central.)
Lost – “The Constant”
Okay, we GET IT… the holiday connection to this episode is tenuous at best. When Scottish boyfriend-for-LIFE Desmond finally contacted his beloved Penny in Season 4 of Lost, it happened to be during Christmas in her timeline. So that is what it is… and we’re telling you, this moment is a legendary TV emotion, of all time. Sure, you might have your beefs with the way Lost ended. We realize it’s controversial. But if you can’t admit that this souful meeting of souls is sheer genius, then you didn’t get what the show was about all along. PURE heartfelt love for the holidays. DESMOND + PENNY 5EVER!