It’s just not quite the holidays until appropriately themed television specials hit the tube. Now that the year is finally winding down, and the weather is starting to get cold, it’s time to grab some hot tea and cuddle up to watch your favorite characters as they enjoy the mayhem and mischief that comes along only once a year, but always around the end of the year.
In no particular order, here’s five holiday-themed episode of TV to make you laugh, reflect on your own personal meaning of the holidays, and feel those oh-so-important holiday good-time feels. Let’s go!
South Park: Season 3, Episode 15: “Mr Hankey’s Christmas Classics”
Image Source: South Park Studios
South Park is no stranger to the holidays, and I probably could have filled an entire list just with all of its hilarious, irrelevant, and unique takes on the holiday season. Many of them are now classic in their own right, and bridge everything from talking pieces of Christmas poo to satanic cute and cuddly woodland critters.
But if I have to just pick one, I’d have to go with an older and more musical episode. “Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics” is a song-filled clip show, done South Park style, without any need for background or any reliance on preconceived ideas of what South Park is about.
Matt Stone and Trey Parker are no strangers to musicals (just look at The Book of Mormon), and the episode’s songs, like “Merry F**king Christmas,” Cartman’s “O Holy Night,” and “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” will have you singing (and laughing) in no time.
Community: Season 2, Episode 11: “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”
Image Source: NBC
Dan Harmon’s Community is one of the funniest shows to hit TV in recent memory, and the show’s take on the holidays should also be nothing less than stellar. Through Abed’s point of view, the show is able to justify doing an entire animated holiday special — with music! — that tracks Abed’s emotional journey during what can be a happy, but also a stressful time of the year for many people.
Better yet, the entire cast is not only stop motion animated, but also gets Christmas versions of themselves as they travel across Winter Wonderland to try to discover the true meaning of Christmas.
And come on. Who doesn’t want a Christmas pterodactyl? That’s what I thought.
Seinfeld Season 9, Episode 10: “The Strike”
Image Source: Sony Pictures
It’s a Festivus for the rest of us! Let’s bagel.
Within Seinfeld’s last season, the show managed to not only tie together plots involving fake charities (George’s The Human Fund), Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations, and free-sub cards, but also brought Festivus into the mainstream, cementing both the show and the holiday into the mind’s of the tv-watching public.
And in case you didn’t know, Frank Costanza’s annual celebration had IRL roots in Seinfeld writer Daniel O’Keefe’s actual family traditions, before becoming a legendary part of the seminal sitcom. So don’t forget to put up the aluminum pole, air those grievances, and complete the feats of strength this December 23. There’s even a website out there, with more information on everybody’s favorite least commercial and religious holiday.
Boy Meets World Season 5, Episode 11 “A Very Topanga Christmas”
Image Source: Buena Vista Television via tumblr
Holiday traditions are important, and merging those traditions with your loved ones can be tricky. That’s the theme in one this holiday-themed episodes of the seminal 90s sitcom Boy Meets World.
When Topanga joins Corey and his family for their first combined Christmas, Corey learns that the person he loved isn’t exactly like him, and that Topanga has her own holiday traditions that are clashing with his. It can be a tough lesson to learn, but there’s also enough heart and holiday cheer in here to help anyone through the holidays. The episode stresses the importance of compromise in a relationship, especially when it comes to personal family traditions.
That got deep for a second. It ends happy, with a warm reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol by Mr. Feeny.
Scrubs Season 1, Episode 11: “My Own Personal Jesus”
Way back in the first season of Scrubs, the show took a look at what it would be like working at a hospital on Christmas Eve.
Featuring moments like J.D. as the Fonz, Turk’s musical “12 Days of Christmas” (with new lyrics and a hospital twists), banana hammocks, and Dr. Cox as the Grinch; the episode juxtaposes the happiness of the holidays with the stresses of hospital emergencies that still happen, even at that time of year.
The episode also brings everything together in the end though, for a heartwarming finale that gives Turk the Christmas miracle he was looking for. If that isn’t what the holidays should be about, then I don’t know what is.
What are your favorite sitcom holiday episodes to watch? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo Credits: Image Source: NBC